Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017, Jesse Eisenberg and Patrick Blindauer


Hard to believe, but it's been 75 short years since the New York Times first ran a crossword puzzle. It doesn't look a day over 60, if you ask me. There is a nice recognition section on the front page of the NYT website, along with some 11 standout crosswords from over the years to try one's hand at, if you haven't already gotten the bug.

Clearly that's not going to be the case with the majority of our readers, I assume. So what do we get? A "series" of puzzles starting with today's, constructed by a standard constructor collaborating with a celebrity who enjoys solving the NYT grid. We all know Mr. Jesse Eisenberg from his recent appearance in an NYT puzzle, which does confer a certain sort of celebrity, but...

What's that?

Oh. I guess he's famous from his roles as a "Hollywood actor", if you catch my drift.

And the theme he and Mr. Blindauer have come up with is rawther silly. They've built a snowman using food items that share words with body parts. I'm not exactly sure how you could make CHERRYPITS work, but I'm enjoying the image of a HEADOFLETTUCE sitting atop an otherwise standard snowman.

I thought the NW was very promising, with 1D: Decidedly non-PC types? (MACS) and 2D: Comeback in a cave (ECHO). 1A: Doc on a battlefield (MEDIC) gets a C+. I was all set to give the creators props as well for the representation of women, but it turns out that only four of nine proper names in the grid are female (SARA Bareilles, TONI Morrison, Valerie JARRETT, and Paula ZAHN).

There's very little in the way of sparkle in the end, though, in the fill. I was not fooled by 41D: Cowboys, but not Indians (NFLTEAM). I enjoyed RATEDG and 9D: Single, say (BASEHIT) took a while to figure out.

Overall, a reasonable Wednesday.

- Colum


  1. I liked POLE. Got it from crosses, but once I did, I was like, "oh, of course those letters arranged like that are Polish". SAIL also had a nice clue (not sure how many people know about trimming sails, but to me this was quite familiar as it is a common sailing term).

    Oh, and of the themers CHERRYPITS was actually my favorite. I'll take punny over logical and boring.

  2. 5:51

    I found this snowman a bit off-putting, though I can't quite articulate why. Something about the "spoken" clues, I think. Anyway, it's not really bad or anything, but I didn't love it.

    I did, however, enjoy "33D Gallic girlfriend," as me and my AMIE are enjoying Gallia at this very moment. And speaking of that, we visited the Sacré Cœur yesterday, on the back of which, wrapped around a few corners, are the letters MATERMARIA ORAPRONOBIS. The divisions of the first part were clear enough, but we wondered to ourselves briefly, "What is 'orapro?'" Could it be "o rapro,"... finally, we parsed it correctly into "mater maria ora pro nobis." It was a Latin KTWO moment in France!

  3. 9:46
    Easy Wednesday, but fun and timely theme. EARSOFCORN would clearly look the funniest. Great to see SCOTTY in there for a change (I'm looking, of course, at Sulu and Uhura). ELITE may be getting a bit outdated. I just read "ANNA Karenina" in 2016, but probably would have filled that in quickly regardless. Finally, though I will never visit the place, it was good to see SENEGAL in the puzzle, as drummers from there are featured on the Voyager gold record. The track has likely not yet been heard by any aliens.

  4. Nice meeting you this weekend!