Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tuesday, August 23, 2016, Joel Fagliano


This puzzle played much easier than yesterday's, despite the stacks of 9-letter answers. In the iPad app, the 3x3 squares are circles. I didn't look at the information button blinking steadily at me from the upper right corner, so I didn't understand the SWIRL incorporated in each section until I'd finished the puzzle.

It's a clever concept: four 9-letter ice cream flavor varieties make tiny spirals inside the other answers. The swirls are not symmetrically placed, so you definitely need the circles to show you where they are. I'm not sure that any of the flavors other than Chocolate are ever swirled. Can you get a Rum Raisin or Pistachio swirl? I would never in my life eat Bubblegum ice cream, so I can't even begin to speak on that subject.

Just like on Sunday, these graphical representations create a ton of triple-checked letters. Do they lead to trouble in the fill? Let's CHEX. (Sorry).

The only area which suffers (IMO) is in the middle W section. There you have INRE crossing INULIN, which I would never in a million years get without the crosses. Otherwise, they all work remarkably smoothly. I particularly like 1A: Classic TV show with a celebrity panel (MATCHGAME). No "the" needed in the clue. I give it an A for nostalgia. My first solid answer came at 1D: Thomas who wrote "Death in Venice" (MANN), which once again, allowed me to go with my instincts at 1A.

BEELZEBUB appropriately descends in the NE corner. I very much like the quartet of 9-letter answers at 19A (VASSALAGE), 28A (MORTGAGED), 44A (REMAINDER), and 51A (IMPERFECT).

I don't much like ETDS, OSX, or SWAY crossing WAY. And I will type the remainder of this review in ZAPF dingbats.

I very much enjoyed this puzzle.

- Colum

(Darn - Blogger doesn't allow that font.)


  1. 6:36

    Breaking four on a Tuesday... block off March 24-26, 2017 right now! We'll meet you down at the Marriott and I promise you it will be a fun time!

    Anyway, no.. rum raisin and pistachio are never (ever) swirled. And did you notice the Coriolis effect on the puzzle swirls? The left ones swirl left and the right ones swirl right. Funny.

    VASSALAGE is cute, ish, but INULIN is downright Maleska-y, am I right? LUMET, I find, also directed the WIZ, but that cross-reference would have been even less helpful than the actual clue for me. If possible.

    I liked this one, but there was a lot of NEHI, ISMS, ALII, and ESTS-type stuff, not to mention the items you already called out. As you suggest, though, the triple-checking put Mr. Fagliano TWEEN a rock and a hard place, and really, he did manage to cram in some nice stuff, so it still gets a WOBBLY thumbs up.

  2. Oh, wait, I forgot to mention the "One hell of a river?" clue. That was nice.

  3. 8:26
    Hmmm...this was a bit tougher for me than Monday's. Nice time, Colum! INULIN is reminiscent of a typical Webster Times puzzle clue/answer, and doesn't belong here at all. REBUS makes another appearance. I liked EXHIPPIES, but agree that SWIRL doesn't work with the flavors depicted. I tried Scoop first, but, of course, changed it almost immediately. MWAH is a nice answer (52D Sound of an air kiss).

  4. For what it is worth I had no trouble with INULIN and rather like that word. It is abundant in the Jerusalem Artichoke (which is neither from Jerusalem nor an Artichoke, which is why I think it is a much more charming name than Sunchoke which is what a lot of stores have been calling it lately).