- MAN and PAGELAYOUT
- SHOERACKS and SING
- GALL and IMPROVEON
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Vacillation is the name of the game today! Four theme answers describe ambivalence in different forms, with varying levels of appropriateness; each is clued similarly as a choice being made between options A and B (and, in one case, C):
- ONTHEFENCE - yes, quite.
- WISHYWASHY - I see this as more of a character trait than a decision-making obstacle.
- OFTWOMINDS - good, nice and literal
- UPINTHEAIR - my least favourite - would normally refer to the decision, not the decision-maker.
Monday, November 27, 2023
Today we've got a chromatic rhyming theme in a left-to-right symmetrical grid, with five colour-related rhyming phrases sprinkled throughout the puzzle, one split into two side-by-side answers (MELLOW / YELLOW, Donovan's hit song from 1966). I believe the entire point of this construction was the final theme clue, whose answer is ORANGEDOORHINGE - the closest humankind has ever come to a rhyme for the word 'Orange'. Ha! I bet Ms. Bosko thought long and hard about getting 'PURPLE' in there too, somehow.
So I RELISHed this puzzle, because of the refreshing symmetry and also because it put up more resistance than usual for a Tuesday. I was misled time and again - entering PETDOOR instead of AIRHOLE for 'Opening in a pet carrier' (#facePalm) and ODDBAL (yes, ODDBAL) not ODDONE for 'Quirky person'. Bogged me down from the get-go, it did. Fortunately, a few gimmies came to the rescue. 'I, on the periodic table' (IODINE) could have been clued as simply 'I', and maybe it would have, later in the week. I don't know Uno, but crying the name could only mean ONECARD. I still have a box of MEMOREX tapes somewhere with a bunch of '80s music on them. Nothing to play them on any more, sad to say. I was aware that Captain Kirk never actually said 'Beam me up, SCOTTY!' Didn't love LATISH ("Not quite on time") - just doesn't look right to me. I did like the clue for COLONS (appropriately, ': : : : : :') in a weird way.
What a disjointed, rambling review! Back at it tomorrow.....
Sunday, November 26, 2023
Today's theme, hidden in a clever pun, is all about food. Not just any food, but four dishes with something in common: each with two-word names, both words starting with the letter 'B'. A pretty innocent theme, really, though my mouth waters whenever I read BEEFBOURGUIGNON. Something succulent about the way the B's and the G's roll off the tongue ... but I digress. The revealer ties it together: "'Admittedly...', or when said aloud, a punny description of the theme answers" : TOBEFAIR. Get it? TWO-B FARE? I feel like I'm being one of those annoying people who ruin jokes by explaining their punchlines. Anyway. The best part of the theme today was this revealer.
Elsewhere - I liked the subtly punny "Pub brawl" (BARFIGHT), and OLGA Korbut brought back memories of watching the 1976 Olympics on our brand new tiny little black-and-white TV, where she was upstaged by the transcendent Nadia Comaneci. I liked the inventive cluing of CRATER ("Any facial feature of the man in the moon, in reality").
TSETSES ("Fearsome African flies") raised my eyebrows. I don't think this word really has a plural form, though I expect Google would prove me wrong, if I just went one tab over and looked ..
Not much else of note. Gentle, sub-three-minute Monday fare.
Onwards and Tuesday-wards!
Greetings all, from crisp cool Toronto-land! After solving today's puzzle, I am struck with an urge to go stretch my legs (not that my legs need stretching, as those who know me will attest). The trick today is, seven Down answers have been lengthened by an INCH - literally, by the insertion of 'INCH', transforming common phrases into punnily-clued silliness - and even more literally for me, on my computer screen, those extra 4 squares are almost exactly an INCH long. I like this multi-level cleverness, though some of the results are quite seriously contorted. I won't list them all out today, but here's an example:
LATESTCRAZES - perfectly fine, common phrase - becomes LATINCHESTCRAZES, clued "Reasons that South American furniture stores have super-long lines?"
I mean, really. We're venturing far out into dad-joke land here. Not that I mind. I dwell in the domain of Dad Jokes, the more contrived the better. It might be a bit much for some, though. (Comments?) A neat and appropriate twist, having the theme answers all being Down.
As far as the solve went - as usual, I left the theme till the very end, spidering down from NW to SE and working out from there. I wasn't sure the very first clue "Sweeties" was going to be BAES, so left it at first, but sure enough... Didn't love SNEERY for "Visibly scornful" - a bit of a hack, there. Moving diagonally down, I was fully misled by "Release, as a trailer", thinking it had to do with the movies, so the eventual unveiling of UNHITCH was a pleasant "aha". I needed all the crossers for UTAHUTES ("Brigham Young football rival") - nice construction there, and in the neighbourhood of the most difficult section for me. I don't visit Natick very often, but the crossing of "Classic name in wafers" and "The ____ Honors (annual picture book awards)" was just about the end of me, even with NE_CO and _ARLE in place. Fortunately, I twigged to "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and filled in NECCO and CARLE. NECCO must be an American thing, or I don't get out shopping enough (or I'm in the wrong aisles). This is the sort of thing that just kills at the ACPT.
Other stuff - SANDALTANS ("Reasons to wear socks post-vacation") was a new one . Oooo...kay. ICOSAGON ("20-sided shape") was neat. Nice to see that word get some air time, instead of its sexier, higher-dimension sibling ICOSAHEDRON... "One who doesn't have a prayer?" (ATHEIST) - super subtle editorializing maybe? I'd never heard of YEET ("Hurl with gusto, in Gen Z slang") - guess I'm one or two Gens too old. And my favourite of the day, just next to that one - "One might improve a pupil's performance" (MONOCLE). Are monocles a thing any more? At all?
Found this a bit tougher than the usual Sunday fare. Sometimes there's a slight wavelength difference, I find. All in all, though, fun and no serious gripes.
See you tomorrow!