Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thursday, November 30, 2017, Trenton Charlson


I had absolutely no idea what was going on for almost the entire puzzle. I had figured out that the circles were to be filled with Xs, which sped things along, but I couldn't get why they were that way, even when I knew the terms that were supposed to go there. And then I finally filled in 60A: It's four units long in a popular board game ... (BATTLESHIP).

And then it became clear. The destroyer is 2 units long, thus CONANTHEXX is actually Conan The Destroyer (the real name of the movie). The cruiser is 3 units long, thus PTXXX. I really never liked that car. Looked fake 50s. And so on.

The theme is excellent, strong work for a fun Thursday, even though there aren't any rebuses. All those Xs made for faster work as well. There are 12 answers with Xs in them (one has 2). Some were bound to be less strong. For example, JOHNX and RXS. On the positive side, though, you get one of the top clue-answer pairs of the year, in my opinion, at 9D: Congress (SEX). Mm hm. That's right. You heard me.

Also very nicely done is the inclusion of JUKEBOXHERO (another X word), and its symmetric opposite LOOSECANNON.

Other nice entries included 44A: Opened one's mouth but didn't speak? (YAWNED); 30A: It's measured in cups (BRA), and 12D: "Oh, cry me a river!" (BOOHOO).

I messed up at 1A, and it was falsely confirmed with an error at 1D as well. I put in "adder" at 1A: Venomous African snake (MAMBA), and thought "air" was a good answer for 1D: Word after hot or open (MIC). Fortunately 2D: Blood letters had to be ABO, and corrections were made. So I give 1A a B+ for being tricksy.

Lastly, I'd like to say that Cece and I watched Speed with KEANU Reeves and Sandra Bullock this past weekend. On rewatching, it was incredibly flimsy in plot, but a ton of fun, and the two of them were so young! Keanu had started down the road to wooden acting, but still had a bit of his Bill goofy walking.

- Colum


  1. 9:53
    Boy, I loved this one. What a way to end the month. Which reminds me... I guess I start up reviewing tomorrow. Seems like it's been ages!

    I had the same erroneous first guesses at 1A and 1D, but, as you say, ABO fixed that up. I even had "nose" for a while at 4D (Schnozz), which made MAMBA even harder to see.

    You've called out much of the good stuff, but I just want to iterate that Mr. Charlson did a very fine job of incorporating those Xs! EXHUME, ANNEXES, PROXY... EXOTIC work!

    - Horace

  2. 9:35
    Once I realized that the circles were Xs, I filled all of those in, but I had no idea of the theme for the whole puzzle solve, either. Great theme, even though, as Colum mentions, there's no proper rebus. Too bad we couldn't have fit in a "miss" somewhere. And a bit of misdirection there at 22A ___ Ranch (onetime "Texas White House") (LBJ) since people of our age probably though of W's place off of the clue, but couldn't, for the life of us, think of a three-letter name for it. Am I alone here?

  3. 13:29
    I love this theme. Words as numbers. Numbers as game pieces. One of the great games on all time. Wonderful theme idea.

    I don't know where I lost time. Seemed like a lot of stuff went right in: JUKEBOXHERO needed no crosses. LOOSECANNON had a couple of crosses when I read the clue that may or may not have been needed. Bela ABZUG was a gimme. And no, Huygens, I was not fooled by LBJ. Sure, I thought about W first, but I'm older than you and easily bounced back to the previous presidential Texan with a ranch.

    1. I never thought of W at all, and put in LBJ without hesitation.