Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wednesday, November 4, 2015, Ruth Bloomfield Margolin


Doesn't this one feel like it should have been yesterday's puzzle, and yesterday's puzzle should have been today's? I very much enjoyed this offering from Ms. Margolin. I see that this is her second accepted puzzle, according to X-word Info, and it looks like the various bloggers on this site enjoyed the first one as well. That bodes well for future efforts from this creator!

The theme is definitely hidden, and I don't know if I would have figured it out without the assist from the info button, which helpfully flashes at me when it has something to tell me. The word "game" is hidden in each of the four long across answers. We have two ancients of legend, GILGAMESH and AGAMEMNON, and two standard phrases, both well accepted. I would have preferred if the hidden word was split across the two words in both answers, as in MAKINGAMENDS, but I can see that might be difficult.

And then there's a second layer, in that each of the four corner across answers precede the word "game" in a standard phrase. For that reason, 1A is actually a theme answer, and I don't feel right giving it a grade. 8A: Watch it! (VIDEO) is sort of odd as a clue, but fine.

But it's the rest of the fill that make this puzzle delightful. I was surprised to see Wade BOGGS in there, formerly a Red Sox stalwart, subsequently a Yankee traitor and a Devil Ray. The long downs are excellent, especially THESHINING (nice that the "the" is included), DOWNUNDER, and DEARSANTA. GOLDMEDALS is only marred by the pluralization.

On the down side, EMAG reappears. I wonder if it is, in fact, a hidden theme answer? Read from bottom to top? That would be much more acceptable. DEADER is awkward. Otherwise I can put up with the rest.

My favorite clue and answer pair today is: 23A: One of Seuss's Star-Bellies (SNEETCH). I even appreciate the correct usage of the 's in the clue.

- Colum


  1. 0:6:52

    Agree across the board. This played easier than yesterday's for me, too, and I very much enjoyed it! I love the idea of EMAG as a bonus themer. I wonder if the creator thought of that? (If you're out there, Ms. Margolin, we'd love to know!)

    Didn't they just dig up another fragment of the GILGAMESH story, written on a rock somewhere? I suppose I could look it up, but who's got the time?!

    ENDUPAT looks insane. Liked seeing NESTOR. … Some "glue," as Jeff Chen likes to call it, but the rest makes up for it. Thumbs up from this quarter as well!

  2. 11:55
    I had no idea what the theme was, but it's quite nice. I liked the Iliad pairing, and I won't mention 22A. It's been awhile since I've read the story, and didn't remember the "T" in SNEETCH, which had me trying to remember whether the characters were named.