Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thursday, July 21, 2016, Jason Flinn


It's Thursday, and we got a rebus! The old-fashioned kind of rebus! The kind where the trick is visual, as in WALKING under ALADDER! or a BLACKCAT crossing ONESPATH. Both of these, and one other action, are BADLUCK! (Except, if you actually agree with the cat one, you should really read this.) I applaud this old-school rebus theme!

I also applaud some of the fill. UNIBROW (18A: Prominent feature of Bert on "Sesame Street") is given a great clue, and maybe an even better one is 42D: Prevents from stealing, say (TAGSOUT). Hah! The Three Stooges (SILLINESS) is always a welcome addition, and although it seems rather plain, I really enjoyed REALISTIC for "36A: True to life."

The NE and SW corners cut what could have been seven stacks into a bunch of threes, which does, I guess, allow for some nice down material, like FIREFLY (11D: Night light?), RECITAL (40D: Music event), and, well, ALIGN (10D: Harmonize). The others are less exciting. And speaking of less exciting, I noticed a lot of ETA, TATI, SSRS, NSEC, EST, IDEM, GMT, RGS, and the classic ENA. I didn't include TSAR in that list, because it has a better-than-average clue today - "37D: Target of a 1917 uprising."

So there's a lot of junk, but I'm blaming it on the constraints of what I consider to be a very strong theme. And in my opinion, anyway, a good theme counts for a lot. I'm giving this one a thumbs up!

- Horace

p.s. I can't decide whether to be relieved or disappointed that they didn't try to tie together STALKS and CORNMAZE.


  1. 27:31
    I was slowed a bit in the NW and SW sections, but I, too, enjoyed the rebus and the puzzle. At first I entered Slapstick where SILLINESS belongs, but that was quickly corrected. HOMEICE was nice, since from the clue, 43D Advantage for a hockey team, I wanted something to do with a power play. LIZARDS had a great clue, and who doesn't enjoy a TANNIN (although I prefer them in red wine)? NAANS, even though plural and crosswordese, was saved by its clue, much like TSAR, as mentioned by Horace.

  2. This theme was seriously cute. I was starting to get the black cat but didn't have enough letters for "walked in front" or the like. Before long I had no-nos #1 and #2 but #3 was putting up a lot of resistance. ROR didn't seem possible, and even adding the name of an old space station didn't seem to help, until I saw "broken mirror".

    Fill was a bit slow going but not unusually for a Thursday. I was glad to see ETUI. It's been a while (at least in my personal solving), and I missed it.

    1. You know, I totally agree with you on ETUI, at least in spirit. It always makes me smile to see "eel" in a puzzle. And Frannie and I were just remarking about how we never seem to be annoyed by "ore." It's funny how crosswordese can almost be cosy. And sometimes, like on a Saturday, that kind of thing can give a crucial foothold.

  3. I entered "anxiety" for 18A as the prominent feature of Bert on "Sesame Street." It even fit with TANNIN. I couldn't think of UNIBROW because I had a banana in my ear. :)