Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014, Matthew E. Paronto and Jeff Chen


Just yesterday, or the day before, I said to Frannie that I would try to make a puzzle for my family using nothing but tired crosswordese, and then lo and behold, this arrives! Even before we got to 20A: EPEE (FENCINGBLADE), I had noticed a trend. ORBS, IBIS, ONO, REFI, IPAD, SATE, NIN, LIN, TAPA, AFRO, ANAT, even GOTTI (17A: John known as the "Teflon Don") was seen within the last few days.

I wondered, at first, why they bothered to put the theme clues in all caps, but then I thought, if they didn't, how would you know there even was a theme? Hah. I kid. But really, putting those words outside the grid, instead of inside, was a nice change, and the usual clues for those words -  NEEDLECASE (20A: ETUI) and ARABLEADER (47A: EMIR) (and the aforementioned FENCINGBLADEare at least decent fill.

There are a couple of fun non-theme answers - CLOWNAROUND (25D: Be a goof) and BANANASPLIT (10D: Fountain treat with cherries on top) both outshine the theme itself - but I like to think that the entire grid is acting as theme support. On the bottom half you get OBOE, REVS, REE, ALA, EXE, RENO, INN, and ANEW.

An interesting idea (I guess I have to say that, since I have already claimed a desire to construct such a grid), but in the end, maybe a bit of "imitative fallacy," as our old creative writing teacher used to say. If you're writing about someone who is boring, don't make your writing boring.

Plus, no EEL!

- Horace

p.s. I have read elsewhere that the "pun" part of the revealer CROSSWORDESE (55A: What this puzzle's capitalized clues are, both by definition and pun) refers to all the theme clues beginning with the letter E (EPEE, ETUI, ERNE, EMIR). I didn't even notice that. I thought that it somehow referred to "crossword ease" because they were incredibly easy for any regular solver. Also, "Crossword Es?" Lame. Especially since the variant "AMIR" is nearly as frequent. Maybe if the only vowel were E - then they could have used "EMEER." And EEL! Dammit!


  1. 12:59
    I've heard Horace mention making a crosswordese puzzle such as this one and was looking forward to it. I have my own idea for a puzzle. Maybe it will appear in Maine later on this year. I was first clued in when EPEE was in caps and this one went fast (for me). Well, off to breakfast, then the Hearst Castle tours.

  2. 5:12. Oh, come on. It's a fun idea, and I like the Crossword Es. Like you said, good to see those darn words outside of the grid. Other good answers include AMNESIA, PSALMS, and ITALIC, the only clue that I thought was in any way misleading (Bold alternative). Otherwise I entered more or less straight across. It's gotten to the point that when I see the clue "Big do" I enter AFRO without even thinking. For a Tuesday, it was fine.