Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday, January 15, 2018, Zouqin Burnikel and Agnes Davidson


I'm not sure what to think of this theme. It's appropriate for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but using Dr. King's famous words to "reveal" synonyms for "free" seems, to me, an unfortunate cheapening of the message. Oh, I know it's only a game, a puzzle, and there seems to be some larger question being asked today about whether words don't matter at all or whether they matter a great deal. Perhaps this puzzle is a representation of that very dichotomy. Or maybe I'm just overthinking this.

It's odd, too, because the words aren't hidden at all, they are just the last words of the phrases. I suppose that happens sometimes, doesn't it? Anyway, my favorite is THECOASTISCLEAR (39A: "We can go safely now"), just because it's the most dramatic, what with its spanning the grid and all.

It's odd to me that ODOR should be clued with "Distinctive smell." Why not just "smell?" Perhaps to throw us off the scent? (Guffaw!) But TOGO being clued with "Like food from a West African drive-through?," well, that's entirely different!


I liked the full OLIVEOIL, and POWDERKEG (3D: Volatile situation) was very nice.

In the end, I come away from this, as I usually do when anything at all reminds me of it, thinking of that famous speech. We are, none of us, as free as we could be. In America today, the vicious racists are not solely down in ALAbama, they are in the very White House, and if America is to be a great nation, this must not be true. But somehow I think we all still hope for a day when freedom rings from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire, from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado, and from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. It's silly, but I still believe. Someday. Someday.

- Horace


  1. 5:01
    Well I just finished emptying, cleaning and shining the hot tub for the first of three times in 2018 (the other two being Memorial Day and Labor Day). My favorite answer was TOGO, which was excellently clued and answered, even though Christina RICCI has always been a favorite and comes in a close second. One slowdown for me was at 4A, where I tried amocO off of the "O" in ONE. GOSOX.

  2. 4:27 (getting faster on paper!)
    I agree with the somewhat less than felicitous use of Dr. King's speech as a revealer, even on the day that celebrates his achievements. I do however very much enjoy your segue from yesterday's blog to today's via the picture attached.