Thursday, September 7, 2017

Thursday, September 7, 2017, Alex Eaton-Salners


Instead of a trick puzzle, this Thursday we get a gimmick puzzle. All the Across answers are in alphabetical order. I sure hope this is difficult to do, because toward the end we are treated to some things not usually seen in a grid. Well, actually, as I look around, I find unusual entries all over the place, but that ROWR (56D: "Hey there, tiger!") really stands out, doesn't it? Truly, though, I actually enjoyed that one. It's so daring! OVATE (50D: Almost circular), IFI, MEDO, ROLEO, VSO, TIEA, and HEE are less appealing. None terrible, but together they seem a bit much.

I guess I'd like it better if every letter of the alphabet were used to start a word, but then I suppose that list of unappealing words would be much longer. Still, it's an interesting thing for Mr. Eaton-Salners to have done. And it makes me wonder - you know how sometimes we count the squares taken up by theme material? Is it all theme material today? Heh.

What more is there to say?

1A: One who settles argument (ARBITER) - B.
Favorite: EVILDOER (6D: "Nothing is easier than to denounce the ____; nothing is more difficult than to understand him": Dostoyevsky). Just last night I read the "allegory of the cave" from Plato's Republic, and this quote meshes beautifully with the idea that the best people in a society must take it upon themselves to go among the worst and try to help them. It also makes me think of the Tao Te Ching, which includes a line that asks something like "What is a good man, but a bad man's teacher, what is a bad man, but a good man's project?" Is that what we crossword puzzle bloggers are trying to do? To help constructors improve their products? Or are we just here to poke holes in their hard work? The same could be asked of Socrates, I suppose, who poked holes in the self-claimed wisdom of others, while crowds looked on and jeered. ...

Can you tell that I just started a Philosophy class?

Least: ABLUSH (8D: Visibly embarrassed). I am ABLUSH to admit that I put this in with no crosses, which I can only credit to my having done so many crossword puzzles.

OK, that's probably enough from me for today. Thanks for reading!

- Horace


  1. 8:03
    That commentary gives me a lot to think about. In particular, this pushes me even more toward the feeling that I need to construct a crossword puzzle, as my experience to date is limited to the mere one-sided view of the projection of the puzzle on paper, with no sense of the reality that goes into creating it from the source.

    On to the puzzle itself, this one was smooth sailing for me, other than having RAWR for a while for 56D. Somehow ROWR just doesn't look right.

  2. DNF
    Yuck... I thought there was more to this. And I had so many mistakes. I also really really did not want to put ABLUSH in, which I immediately considered. If I had, I might have finished faster, but not necessarily more accurately. CRTS INUP MCA RVS EYDIE IFI NEU. Oh boy, this was not a HOOT, it was a HOT mess. And how does MOSSY equal "old-fashioned"? Anyway, on to the rest of the turn.

  3. I guess it's kind of impressive to construct a puzzle like this. Once you figure it out--and that happens very early--it does add another dimension to the solve. I can live with maybe a little more than the usual sub-standard fill. Colum, I completely agree about MOSSY. I see that "old-fashioned" is the 5th definition on, but I have never read or heard it used to mean that. Horace, that wild ROWR was the highlight of the puzzle for me. I had ROaR in for the longest time, but I was pretty sure there was a Family Guy character named STEWIE. My puzzle came down to that last letter, but I just couldn't believe the powers that be would allow ROWR. Thinking ROWR was better than STEaIE, though--pretty easy call--I put in the W and avoided the DNF. Yes, it's daring. And brilliant. You can say it and the sound is exactly right for "Hey there, tiger!" Love it!

    1. I still like it, but Mr. Berman's "Rawr" also looks good to me. I can't really remember if I've ever seen it in print before.

  4. 21:30
    I didn't notice the alphabetical order thing during or after the solve. STEWIE, TINAFEY (nice to see the whole name there) and YTTRIUM (off of the "Y" of STY all went right in. But my slowdown was in the NE with BOOYAH, CLAUDIA and the cross EYDIE. This puzzle was OK, but I can't say that IADOREIT. Nice allusion to the cave allegory Mr. Berman.