Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tuesday, November 7, 2017, Greg Poulos


Love this idea, although part of me wonders whether it is actually just a jaded attempt on the part of the constructor to come up with five answers that are debuting in the NYT xword. Just kidding. Actually, it's a little odd to see WORDOFTHEYEAR as the revealer, when only two of the theme answers are individual words rather than phrases.

Clearly the winner among the theme answers comes at 39A: Demoted [2006] (PLUTOED). Excellent and humorous at the same time. DUMPSTERFIRE is also a strong candidate. I'm not a huge fan in general of the SINGULARTHEY. I understand the desire for non-gendered pronouns. It just still feels odd in my mouth to say phrases such as: "When we pick CJ up to go to rehearsal, will they bring their own music stand?" And yet, there it is. My younger daughter has multiple acquaintances / friends who wish to use this.

Meanwhile, the puzzle played slow, I would claim in large part because of the hypersegmented nature of the grid. With six theme answers, all those black squares are necessary to provide separation. So we have 78 answers, with each corner approachable only through a single square. It also leads to areas like the NE, with ESE (opposite of WNW?!), ISM, WMD, and KEW, which I knew, but which could be a stumbling block for many.

On the other hand, I do like KINGMINOS and PIANOWIRE (don't get in the way of one of those if it snaps: there's a lot of force keeping them in place!). I also enjoyed GAYBAR and GRIFFEY (both Jr. and Sr. were apparently upstanding individuals).

1A: Facing difficulty (INAJAM) - B+ for the J.
Fave: ACRE (66A: One chain by one furlong). Excellent bit of entirely outdated unit measures.
Least fave: RSTU. Feels desperate.

- Colum


  1. I liked OURS and HOHOHO and a bunch of others. Not so great was STAY which I guess is okay but I thought the clue was a better fit for CALL.

    Oh, and OEUF is nice. That should be in crosswords more often.

  2. 9:47 (while carrying on a conversation with a houseguest)
    Yeah, seeing RSTU and ESE, clued as they were, in close succession put me off, but the theme eventually pulled me back in, especially when PLUTOED became clear. Ha!

    And ending (sort of) with soap on AROPE was amusing. I'm guessing this guy is older than yesterday's (and tomorrow's) constructors... Yes, he looks a bit older anyway, and it's his debut! Nice. Also, he confesses to reading crossword blogs, so let's be nice to him, and keep our CAVILs to a minimum... :) (Hi Mr. Poulos!)

  3. 14:50
    Very slow for a Tuesday. The theme didn't come to me too quickly. I'd forgotten about the MILLENNIUMBUG. PLUTOED is definitely the best of the bunch. And I agree that the SINGULARTHEY seems a bit odd. I'm glad that the SLOOP John B. was clued with The Beach Boys. CAVIL is nice, describing something often seen right in this very blog.

  4. I had to sit this one out, as I had completed it the previous Saturday at the Arlington Puzzle Fest tournament.

    Interestingly, on the same evening that this was published (Tues 11/7) we were at a trivia event where they asked about a "Word of the Year". But sadly, it was not any of the ones from this puzzle. It was the WOY from 2016, which apparently was "surreal" (?)