Saturday, January 20, 2018

Saturday, January 20, 2018, Alex Vratsanos


Nice find at 1A: Blondie's maiden name in "Blondie" (BOOPADOOP). I am pretty sure my father (REL) would have known this off the clue, but he's always shied away from the NYT puzzles, preferring to stick with the dailies in his local paper. Dad still loves talking about the comics, and I think he's disappointed that I no longer read any of them, because I don't ever read the paper. When we were younger, he made up a quiz wherein he drew all the comic creator's signatures exactly as they appeared in the strip, and we had to pair them up with the strip names. I no longer remember if I got Chic Young, but I'm sure it was on there.

Thinking back on all this, I looked up "Blondie," to see how long ago it ceased production, but lo and behold, it's still going! Chic Young started it in 1930, and his son took over and is still going with it. I haven't read it in years (obviously), and I wonder if it's still as sexist as it ever was. Seems hard to believe, but one never knows. Lastly, the surname was taken from the song "I Wanna Be Loved By You," if that wasn't already obvious.

OK, enough on that. And on the very anniversary of the Women's March!


I like the shape of this puzzle. Is it a button? A Ritz cracker? A wheel? It doesn't matter, really.

One of my favorite entries today is MARIONETTES (13D: Howdy Doody and others). Not really a knock-out clue, but a very nice word. One of the better clues today was for BIGTICKETITEM (12A: One taking a lot of credit, maybe?), and 30D: Changers of locks (HAIRDYES) was also cute. I had HAIRcutS for quite a while.

There's a fair amount of mid-length glue today, like ODIST, SYNODAL, HELLENE, SALLOWED, and VSHAPES. And then we have names like ANSELMO and AMATO that feel like glue. At least to me.

The West was my favorite section, with YESMASTER (14D: Toadyish response), BOSTONCREAM (12D: Kind of pie that's actually a cake), and SISTERSOULJAH (10D: Hip-hop icon born Lisa Williamson). I was not familiar with her, but she seems great.

Overall, it was fine. Certainly more enjoyable than yesterday, but perhaps that's unfairly faint praise. I guess some of the clues just seemed a little too straightforward. 10A: Post something (SENDALETTER), 11D: Paper signed before filming begins (RELEASEWAIVER), and 20A: Mosaicist (TILER) were a little too PLAIN (25A: Hamburger order).

I did enjoy 28A: "Because I said so" is not one (REASON). Let's end on that.

- Horace


  1. 21:11
    Lots of missteps today. I put in Veeneck initially. I don't know what VSHAPES means. Also, I was pretty convinced 1D was going to be "sic" or "sit", so I put the SI in first. Unfortunately, it turned out to be BEG. So a lot of the N section sat fallow. I finished the entire SE half of the puzzle first.

    I love MAJORITYRULES and HOMETHEATER. Interesting that both SARAI and Abram fit in the same space. Both changed their name around the same section of Genesis.

  2. DNF. For me, the puzzle shape was more like yin and yang. I completed the lower diagonal section pretty easily, but I couldn't solve the upper half. It was a complete desert, starting with BOOPADOOP. Reading the backstory provided by Horace, I'm not too unhappy about that. The clue I do regret not figuring out, though, is 12A, "One taking a lot of credit, maybe?" I never turned "taking" into requiring. Derp. I would have preferred an "I Dream of Jeannie" clue for YESMASTER - then I might have had a shot. I don't take a BOSTONCREAM pie.

  3. DNF in 64:24
    I didn't know Blondie's maiden name, and the strip is no longer sexist. Blondie is an entrepreneur (successful) and Dagwood often helps with her business, under her direction. I read the comics daily and often have lengthy discussions about them with REL, but I can confirm that he doesn't understand how one can go along without reading the paper (I can understand it). Anyway, MORLOCKS, PACHINKO, ANSELMO and BOOPADOOP yielded too many errors for me to take a finish on this puzzle, but I loved the shape of the puzzle.