Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday, October 12, 2015, Patrick Merrell


Today we get a message from Will Shortz saying "We asked some favorite Times crossword contributors, 'What would you like to do in a daily Times crossword that has never been done before?' This week's puzzles, Monday through Saturday, are the result." And lo and behold, we see pictures in the grid! The first image shows APOCKETFULLOFRYE (37A: Picture A … or, after switching the circled letters and reading the result phonetically, Picture B) (We'll get to all that in a minute), from the NURSERYRHYME "Sing a Song of Sixpence." Straightforward enough, and a happy thought indeed. I'd travel more often that way myself if it weren't illegal in Massachusetts to carry open containers of alcohol in public… but nevermind all that, onward we go to the next image, of a rocket with "Joe's Bakery" on it, perhaps heading to a SPACESTATION. And so what do we get when we switch the circled letters and read it phonetically? "A rocket full of pie." Very nice. And who wouldn't love to be hit by such a rocket?

So there's the "never done before" part. Not bad. As we've said many times, everyone loves a rebus. Even the old-school, original kind. What about the other part, the mundane crossing of words? Well, as you can maybe tell from my time, I didn't have much trouble getting through this one. Perhaps the hardest clue to get was 44A: Of equal size (ASBIG), but, obviously, it came easily enough with a couple crosses. Oh, and you may or may not believe this, but I didn't know 43A: Benghazi's land (LIBYA) immediately either. I don't watch much news.

EUREKA (22D: Exultant cry of discovery) is lovely, and I liked the pair of capitals - WARSAW and BOGOTA, and ALPS (37D: Tour de France mountains) reminds me of our vacation last year. Do we have a clip? Ahh yes… there it is. It's Frannie and our friends enjoying a glass of wine out on the front patio…

Good start to this wildcard week. Already looking forward to the next "never been done" puzzle.

- Horace


  1. 3:50
    Nice time, Horace! I did you 3 better. Didn't love this puzzle because the pictures didn't show up on the iPad app. Otherwise it's fine. Some nice crosses you mentioned, but also I liked STARGATE which was an underrated movie. Don't love OARSMAN. Wouldn't we just call that person a "rower" and do away with the gendered nature of the clue?

    At one point I had ____FRYE at the end of the long across clue. I was hoping for Stephen Fry, but then remembered the distinct lack of any E at the end of his name.

  2. 6:29
    OARSMAN is OK, isn't it? Aren't all of those words considered to be gender neutral nowadays? I don't have any pictures in my grid, either, but that's fine. ARIAS could have been clued with Jodi, but as was the case with LIBYA, maybe Horace wouldn't know about her, either. Nice clue for JAMES. I didn't star anything else as being particularly good or bad, so I'll continue to take care of my backlog now (caused by a weekend spent in Vermont).

  3. I'm not crazy about this start to the week of all-newness. The pics don't add much and just seem a little silly to me, even for a Monday. Pictures that aren't integrated into the answers shouldn't be in crosswords, if you ask me (and, of course, several have.) MIldly interesting, I guess, to learn the first name of Ben-Hur.