Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thursday, October 2, 2014, David Woolf


This was a lot of fun BUT, I really wish that the Es could also have been entered as [MC]s. That is, I'd prefer a little Schrödinger and/or Heisenberg thrown in with my Einstein. I mean, if E really does equal MC squared, then let it. (Using the NYTX iPad app, I left rebuses in the grid when I checked my work, and did not get the "Well Done!" until they were all Es.) I get it, though - All the Es, and the only Es in the grid, mind you, are contained within the thematic material, and in order to read the thematic material correctly, they must be taken as Es. It's really a thing of beauty, this puzzle, but I still think Einstein himself would have been ok with the possibility of MCs being accepted.

OK, with that slight complaint out of the way, I can get on with the praise. Well, wait a minute, let's just mention ILIAC (40A: Near the hip) and NARCO (37A: Stash seeker) too. There. Done. I'm fine with them, really. The greatness of the rest overshadows these minor inconveniences.

So, we've established that the theme is excellent, but that's not all, the cluing and fill are also largely top-notch. TOOL (20D: Drive (along)), ([MC])JOB (59D: Unfulfilling work), and COPS (53D: Admits (to)) feel nicely modern and/or hip (at least to this geezer), and NASA (55D: Org. with lofty goals?), SWI([MC])AP (1D: Top in the pool?), and PIP (34D: One of hearts?) are given slightly tricky, fun clues. The fill also includes such non-standard, interesting words as SUNDRY (49D: Miscellaneous), THORAX (48D: Chest), and the lovely PLUTARCH (44A: "Parallel Lives" writer).

In short, it's just the kind of puzzle we enjoy, and an excellent start to "the turn." Here's hoping tomorrow and Saturday deliver as well!

- Horace


  1. 47:49
    It took me a little while to locate three of the rebus squares, but found they were. Love SCHULZ (42A Woodstock producer), and so soon after LINUS within the last couple of days. I starred 13A Lush (WINO) and 46A Promiscuous guys (TO[MC]ATS) for its greatness and it's huh?, respectively; I've not heard the latter before. Nice to see a mention of ROXY Music, and should I mention the would-be Huygens material at 54D? Maybe not. BIRCH (27D Kind of beer) had me for awhile, as I tried BusCH to no avail for awhile, but I don't wish to be a BADSPORT. I loved the EINSTEIN theme (I don't think he'd have liked the "equality" of substituting the E for the MC in the squares as suggested by Horace since the C isn't squared) and the inclusion of a LUAU, reminding me of Hawai'i.

  2. Yes, the "squared" problem you mention is addressed by the constructor on the XWord Info blog. He thought that since people generally say "M C squared" altogether, that having both in the "square" of the crossword would be good enough. Which indicates a desire on his part that such an entry should count... but I see your point about being specific. Maybe ol' Al wouldn't have liked it after all...

    The rest of the material you note was also appreciated here. I guess I've heard "TO[MC]ATS" before, but I don't use it much myself. I'd probably go with "rake," or, now that I know it through crosswords, "roué."

  3. The clue to the theme word, Einstein, says the famous characteristic is embedded in 6 answers. I finished the puzzle but found only 5 EMCs. Is there a more subtle one I missed?

  4. Every E in the puzzle is used in the same way. I'm guessing you missed either McLovin or McJob,, but whichever one it was, it should be easy to find now.