Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wednesday, June 4, 2014, Jim Hilger


Well, so here we go. I'm stepping into some very large shoes, considering the mass of daily blog entries Horace and Frannie have accumulated.

And what a way to start! With a puzzle devoted to its very own self, WORD GAMES, the letters of which are included in the circles. I wondered when I filled in SCRABBLE in the NW, whether Mr. Hilger was going to be very self-referential, by putting high-value Scrabble letters into the circles. Instead, we are treated to a hodgepodge of different kinds of word games, including TABOO, a party game; HANGMAN, a way to pass the time with your children while waiting in the airport; JOTTO, a game I've never played, but which seems to be Mastermind with 5-letter words; GHOST, another game I've never played, where players add letters to a growing fragment, trying not to complete a word; PROBE, a hangman variant; and ANAGRAMS, a classic game dating back to the time of Jane Austen, if I'm not mistaken. Or maybe it was just in a movie based on a Jane Austen book. I enjoyed the theme very much, even if the category is a little fluid.

I had visions of a very rapid finish when the NW filled quickly... or so it seemed. 4A: Grass for cordage (ESPARTO) threw me for a loop. That's a word I've never come across before. And then in the middle of the east, we get 24D: Realm of Garfield (CATDOM). I have to call foul on this one. I just don't believe this is a real word, and I don't see how it implies a "realm" just because it ends in -dom. I'll also note 32A: Tend to another spill (REMOP) as being a poor entry. 23D: Bulblike plant part (CORM) was another unrecognized word. So anyway, things obviously slowed down for a while.

On the positive side, we have 10D: Bring up on charges (ARRAIGN), 44D: Clientele (PATRONS), and 41A: What to do when dealt a flush (STANDPAT). And I know Horace would be sad to miss 2D: Hic, ____, hoc (HAEC).

Nothing terribly misleading about the clues. I'd say overall I enjoyed the puzzle. Looking forward to the next 10 days of crosswording! Good travels to my hosts.

- Colum


  1. 21:43
    Well, I've heard of CORM, but not of the other words that Colum mentioned (a fine review, by the way!). I wanted "clean house" instead of KEEPHOUSE for 17A, and once I had the crosses of ARR I wanted "arrested" instead of ARRAIGN (a much better word and one that would, in fact, fit, both meaning-wise and length-wise). I'd never heard of over half of those games. I didn't much like SPANGLY (50A Decked out in sequins), but was happy to see SPORK, though I never enjoy using one. Probably ET59 likes using them.

  2. Hello from the Alps!

    I'm late checking in, but thank you very much, Colum, for filling in. You've been doing a great job, even powering through surgery to get the blogging done! We've been checking in occasionally, but to be honest, we haven't even finished all the puzzles. Shocking, I know. This one, however, was done, and I found it a little trickier than most Wednesdays, maybe because I hadn't heard of many of the games. One though, GHOST, brought me way back to when my family would play it on long car trips. I remember being too young to play, but I heard it being played without really understanding it. I haven't thought about it in ages!