Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014, Jared Banta


Is Wednesday the new Thursday? Last week we had some semi-rebus trickery, and today we've got two rebus squares and a trail of BREADCRUMBS leading HANSELANDGRETEL (35A: Story mapped out in this grid, from lower left to upper right) from the [WITCH] back [HOME], or vice-versa. Or does it matter? I guess they dropped them as they went from home, so it makes sense that the letters would read that way. And it's a meandering path, which is nice. OK, I like the theme just fine.

There's nice bonus theme material, too, with the symmetrical (sort of) HANSCHRISTIAN/ANDERSEN (20A: With 23-Across, giant in fairy tales) (Nice clue!), and BROTHERSGRIMM (52A: Publishers of 35-Across, with "the"), and EATNOFAT (11D: Emulate Jack Sprat). Even ABEAR (54A: Hungry as ____) seems thematic today.

I so wanted to enter "Acadia National Park" for 18A: "Where America's day begins" (GUAM), but it's interesting to be reminded that America still has territories. Is the U.S. dollar the official currency in Guam? Probably, I guess. And CESARRITZ (34D: Swiss "king of hoteliers") was also somewhat interesting.

Frannie called out LESSEES (40A: Flat takers) as especially hated fill, but I feel its terribleness is mitigated by its symmetry with EVICTED (30A: Kicked to the curb). And is an HBEAM (10D: Letter-shaped girder) the same as an I-beam when viewed a different way? Yes. Yes it is. The same type of beam can be called I-Beam, H-Beam, UB (universal beam), double-T, or RSJ (rolled steel joist). Ooh, I can't wait until we start seeing RSJ in the grid on a regular basis!

But I digress. This was a fine, if slightly odd, Wednesday. I wonder if the Wednesday trickery will continue next week?

- Horace


  1. 7:47. Here was a theme well-worked. I likes the rebuses, which (WITCH?) took me some time to get. I realized that the three-letter answer to "Broomstick riders" was going to be hard to fill, but it wasn't until I was all the way in the SW that I realized the need for rebus. And you left out EATNOFAT as theme-like, even if it's a Mother Goose rhyme rather than a fairy tale reference. I thought it was high-quality all the way through, from the opening three six-letter answers (LASHAT, OCTANE, and BRANDS), to the two sports references (HANK and EMMITT). A welcome reprieve from the poor quality of the last two days.

  2. 15:42
    I also enjoyed this puzzle. I, like Colum, had trouble with the three-letter "Broomstick riders" answer until the SW was realized, but I still had trouble with the Jennifer Aniston movie until I realized that the [WITCH] wasn't a witch at all, but part of "switch" (THES[WITCH])! For a change I didn't mind the sports entries since I knew them both (are you listening ET59?), and I liked the absence of any French. Finally, I've never used the term ILLEST (31D Most cool, in slang), but this puzzle might qualify.

  3. I didn't mention it, but it was in the SW where Frannie finally decided that there must be a rebus. Funny, we all three had similar experiences with it. Jeff? ET59? Same for you, too?

    And Colum, I did mention EATNOFAT, but perhaps, being at the end of a rather long, rambling sentence, it was not caught.

  4. Huygens, I am quite shocked that you knew EMMITT Smith. Not as surprised by your knowledge of the author of the fabulous autobiography "I Had a Hammer." I actually solved the west side of this puzzle first, so I filled in HOME well before I got to WITCH in the NE. In fact, I filled in the west at a Monday pace before being slowed somewhat over in the east. I too liked this Wednesday offering pretty well. Had the same reaction as Horace to CESARRITZ. Nice bit of trivia. "Bad marks for a high schooler?" was cute, if a little too easy. (Would have been much better without the damned question mark! Ditto for "Provide an address?") Scrabble and Debussy are always welcome in a puzzle. While I like the theme, it's definitely not worthy of a Thursday. Seems like it would be fairly easy to construct.