Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017, John E. Bennett and Jeff Chen

8:44 (FWOE)

Well, I wasn't sure about this puzzle based on the initial entries. Almost thought it was going to be MEH. But ONEWAYORANOTHER, it started to build on me.

The pictures created by the black squares are a hook in the west, with a FISH caught in it, and a shepherd's crook in the east, pulling in a LAMB. Thus, BYHOOKORBYCROOK. I actually love that. I don't know whether the other "Whatever it takes" 15-letter answer was truly necessary for the theme, but it's a nice bonus.

In the meantime, look at the very interesting long answers that get fit in! 6D: Recluse's problem, maybe (AGORAPHOBIA) is great, and went in without a crossing. Similarly, 25D: Don't open it! (PANDORASBOX) is really outstanding, with a fun clue and an unusual answer.

I like the outcome in the SE corner better than the NW. LASCRUCES is very welcome as a complete answer, rather than a prompt for a partial, such as ___ Cruces. I also liked AMINOGROUP and the crossing with the royal family of the STUARTS.

My error came at the crossing of STP and TONIO. I put in SlP, somehow confusing the motor oil with SLR cameras. Ah, well. Can't blame that one on typos! Speaking of which, I call a small foul on a minor opera role in Pagliacci. And anyway, whenever I think of Pagliacci, I can only think of Donald O'Connor in Singing In The Rain.

Otherwise, I liked the understatement in 56D: Rare occurrences at Super Bowls, briefly (OTS). Yeah, rare. It's happened once, just this year. Pretty amazing game, huh?

CLONK is extremely bold. If you don't like it, there it sits in the grid, with a resounding CLONK! But how about 41A: Congested place, at times (SINUS)? Yes! I love it. Even better is 47A: It might prevent you from drifting off (ANCHOR) - literally. No wordplay here. It's just true.

I'm quite pleased in the end with this puzzle.

1A: Diner staple, for short (BLT). Tough call. It's my favorite sandwich, but it's an abbreviation. On the other hand, it's a widely used abbreviation. B+.
Fave: Probably PANDORASBOX.
Least fave: BMOC (Standout in a quad). Nah. Not so much.

- Colum


  1. 14:16
    I liked this one, too, and actually got BYHOOKORBYCROOK off the clue and the grid images alone, which was nice. Fun idea. I really like its unusualness. And speaking of that, yes, CLONK is shocking! I had CLaNg in there for a while, and laughed out loud when I got the real answer.

    And speaking of laughing out loud, I did quite a bit of that while watching the clip. He's so damned springy! And he really sells that final sequence, starting with the doll. So good!

    1. Love Donald O'Connor. He is amazing in that movie all through.

    2. We watched that not too long ago. Totally agree.

  2. 16:17
    When will we get a proper Thursday rebus puzzle? Anyway, this was fine. Fun to have GRAPE / SCOTT up there in the north. Also, the clue for YOYOMA was amusing, if a bit obvious. I needed a few crosses to finish off AMINOGROUP, but, like Colum, none for AGORAPHOBIA. Fun enough puzzle on balance, I guess.