Thursday, February 16, 2017

Thursday, February 16, 2017, Keith Redwine


What do you get when you cross Wednesday with Thursday? An odd duck puzzle with a rebus theme, of course! Although I was surprised not to see the "series" of celebrity crossword constructors announced yesterday continue today, I very much enjoyed this meta-puzzle.

The grid breaks the rules of crosswording because of its ASYMMETRY, announced at 35A (which I would have missed actually). There are extra black squares at the end of 6D, 13D, 52D, and 54D. But their symmetrical counterparts are rebuses of the word "black", thus making up the matching black squares! Very clever, in my opinion

I got the rebus idea very early on, at 1A with [BLACK]BOARD, which is ungraded due to its theme status. My first confident answer was actually 4D: "Modern Family" network (ABC). My favorite rebus crossing is INTHE[BLACK] and THE[BLACK]KEYS, both for the oddity of having the rebus in the middle of the down answer and because its a great use of a contemporary band name (yeah, they started in 2001, but multiple Grammys in the 2010s, right?).

I love TERMINATOR and AESTHETICS, and the oddly clued 18A: Grunts (PRIVATES) - only odd in that it seems like that word could be clued in a much bluer sense, and then the actual clue starts to look a little blue as well. Or at least to my eyes, suddenly.

I'll overlook bits like SES and AUS and LEV for a theme this clever.

- Colum


  1. This is a great theme. Plays with the conventions of crosswords and the age old “do something with the blank squares” idea which seems to generate all kinds of new variations.

    I'm amused that a BLACKBOARD is now just found in caf├ęs, but seems like a good call. At least, I see a lot more blackboards in bars and restaurants, but maybe that's just because I'm not in enough classrooms to say whether they are all on whiteboards now.

    Oh, and sad to say BAMBOO is found lots of places other than jungles. Such as the backyard of a house I owned in Maryland. We did eventually get rid of it, but after much digging and collateral damage to shrubs.

  2. 11:23

    One more positive review from this corner. Once you got the trick, you knew exactly where (and what) the other rebus squares were, but somehow that didn't diminish the joy of solving at all. At least not for me.

    Lots of good fill, and yet another debut puzzle! It's a good time to be doing the NYTX!

    Oh, and one more thing, your stream of consciousness discussion of PRIVATES made me LOL. It reminded me of Austin Powers talking about his "twigs and berries," and now I am imagining him saying "me grunts," instead.

    "Ooooh, right in the grunts!" ... lol hahahhahahhaaaa!

    - Horace

  3. 18:19
    Fun puzzle, nice discussion on PRIVATES, and interesting trivia on "The TERMINATOR." Also, the full LAKEERIE and the [BLACK]SEA are in the puzzle, which is unusual. I saw the MAMMOTH sculptures at the La Brea Tar Pits a few years back, and some SHINTO shrines more recently, both of which ELICITed nice memories. I haven't seen "Old YELLER" since grade school.