PLAYING WITH FOOD
Frannie here - just to add to the recent reviewer confusion. In an odd turn of events, I am writing the review without having solved the puzzle myself. Whaaa? Well, our carefully planned weekend went off the rails when Horace and his friend got into something of a FUDDLE (State of drunken confusion). So, instead of leaving Maine on Saturday afternoon with plenty of time to close up the house, drive home, unpack, settle in at home, prepare for this morning’s Family Zoom (Jeopardy ™ edition), do the puzzle, and write the review before getting ourselves downtown early this afternoon for a physically distanced, but emotionally charged celebration of our friend’s landmark birthday, I am writing the review in the car as Horace drives us as fast as he legally can south on the Maine Turnpike, but while still able to admire the beautiful fall foliage en route.
As I looked over the solution to today’s puzzle to prepare to comment, my general impression was that the clues were engaging and apt. I enjoyed, for example, “Up to one’s ears” (AWASH) and “Gaggle” (BEVY). Here are the ones that I found particularly appetizing:
Part of a return address? (IRS)
Hip-centric dance (HULA)
It keeps a top up (SPIN)
First lady (EVE)
Lose stiffness (GOLIMP) paired with Viagra competitor (CIALIS)
Bit of swearing in church? (IDO)
Completely defeat, as a noob (PWN)
Quarters costing dollars? (HOTELS)
Hook, for one (PIRATE) – nice hidden capital.
Has away with words? (DELETES) – Ha!
Theme-wise, the puzzle lived up to its title. In four answers, food items were “played with,” or depicted cryptically within circled letters. In one case, the entire word [OLIVE] was stuffed, rebus-like, into one square. In another, the well-known and much touted BANKOFGUYANA contains the word ‘banana’ split, with the first three letters of banana at the start of the word and the last three letters at the end. The cryptic food clues all appeared in the top half of the puzzle while their explications appeared as answers in the bottom half (BANANASPLIT ; STUFFEDOLIVE), in, I might add, the same order, top to bottom, as the original cryptic version. We also got CHOPPEDSALAD and MASHEDPOTATO. I, for one, found the theme to my taste. :)
There were three answers I would have had a hard time coughing up without all the crosses including AGOUTI (Central American rodent that resembles a guinea pig), ILOILO (Philippine port with a reduplicative name), and ANNALEE (Silver-screen actress known as ‘The British Bombshell’).
While playing with food is frowned upon in real life, I thought this puzzle version hit the spot.
~Frannie (and Horace).