Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013, Randolph Ross


I wonder if Randolph Ross is any relation to Betsy, because it seems like the THIRTEE[NC]OLONIES (7D: Old group whose members are all represented in this puzzle) are a sort of family business?

When Frannie handed this off to me after having started it, there was a surprising amount of white space left. Sure, she was drowsy, but this was Thursday, not Saturday! I was instantly suspicious of a trick of some kind - something I've heard is more often to occur on a Thursday than any other day. And by the time I got to 3D: "____ Majesty's Secret Service" I knew I was right, but I couldn't find anything else in the NW to let me know which square the rebus would be in. So I moved on. In the N, Frannie had put in SCOTS for 5D: Company that makes Turf Builder. I wondered for a second about the single T, but figured, Well, it's a brand, they do those sorts of things, and I left it. Finally, I was able to piece one together in the NE with S[NY]DER (12D: Tom who followed Johnny Carson on NBC), and BRI[NY] (15A: Full of salt). The NY rebus, combined with just the clue for 7D (above), got me instantly thinking about the Thirteen Colonies. PU[MA] (32A: Sneaker brand) and [MA]SON (34D: Trowel user) sealed the deal, but it was still a tricky solve all the way to the end.

I have no idea how one would massage a grid to shove 13 rebuses into a puzzle like this, especially when they include things like NJ and NH, so I applaud Mr. Ross for an impressive result. Tricky rebus action and some clever cluing made for a very satisfying puzzle experience. And it's still sinking in. Only now, as I am writing this, do I realize that the 13A: Waikiki warbler, DO[NH]O is good ol' Don Ho. I looked at that last night and figured, maybe it's some bird I've never heard of... (Probably because I was set up by thinking "Hawaii, warbler (bird), four letters = NENE. But Nay! Nay!) Also, there was a nice crossing of baseball and Shakespeare knowledge at CA[MD]EN (44D: ____ Yards) and [MD]CIV (54A: Year "Othello" was first performed). I just knew it had to be 16-something, but Frannie had already put in ABCDE for 45D: Start of "The Alphabet Song" and that just had to be right.

Anyway, I could go on and on about how much I liked this. Oh, and this time I was ready for 56D: 7 on an old phone (PRS) -  and I even remembered that there was no Q!

Two excellent Thursdays in a row! What will they do next week?!

- Horace


  1. TITT*

    Well, that's an extremely impressive time for your solve. After 40:24 with only about 2/3 of the puzzle filled in, and much of that incorrectly since I didn't figure out the rebus (having forgotten about Bobby's OP and being accustomed, as I am, to the WT puzzles), I *. I, too, thought that the Waikiki warbler was "NENE," and struggled with the "SCOTS," which I'd entered in those spaces. Maybe I'd have had a chance if I'd solved "THIRTEEN COLONIES," but I didn't, so *. I'll be more attuned to this type of possibility in the future. I actually thought for a short while that the letter "A" was just left out of some answers since PUM(A) crossed with M(A)SON, but that theory was quickly debunked, and it would have been an extremely lame theme if that were the case.

    *Threw In The Towel

  2. Nice theme, but way too easy for a Thursday