Thursday, February 22, 2018

Thursday, February 22, 2018, Zhouqin Burnikel


Mmmm... this was such a wonderful Thursday puzzle, just the antidote to a crazy crazy day at work. That plus a nice glass of wine, don't you know.

60A: Backtracking ... or what 170, 27- and 46-Across are doing? (REVERSINGCOURSE) explains the clever stuff that's going on in the other three long clues. Three different examples of "courses" are placed in the grid backwards. Thus 17A: Home of the Masters (that is, Augusta National) shows up in the grid as LANOITANATSUGUA. Do you know what's really crazy here? I had the ____ANAT____, and unfortunately, the "...ional" fit in the remaining squares in the standard direction! This set me back for a while.

The other two "courses" are pre-algebra (27A: Something unknowns are introduced in - ARBEGLAERP - I love that clue), and appetizers (46A: Starters - SREZITEPPA). Such a great idea, and so well executed.

But you get lovely additions, as is to be expected with Ms. Burnikel's work. GONDOLA... PICANTE... SHREDS. There's the outstanding 3D: "Easy! Everything will be O.K." (DONTPANIC).

I really loved the clue at 11D: Nonmonetary donation (ORGAN). Also 68A: What bagpipes are often played in (KILTS) - not a musical key. Which by the way is typically in the key of OH MY GOD THAT'S SO FREAKING LOUD.

The pi├Ęce de resistance was AUNATUREL crossing LEISURE. And that clue! 39A: It's not working. Hah!

- Colum


  1. 13:58
    I agree that this is a wonderfully executed theme. augusTANATional was the first thing I entered in the puzzle, but then I couldn't make any headway in either the NW or NE. Fortunately, the center north played out and, by just following the crosses, coincidentally got down to the revealer very quickly. And, just from the revealer's clue, well, and that 27A and 46A already had some bizarre looking letter combinations, decided to try reversing my entry for 17A. So, really, not much time lost.

    But yes, AUNATIONAL is fabulous, particularly crossed with LEISURE. ORGAN? Nonmonetary donation? Woah, visceral! Haggard and GAUNT is good. Nice clue for CUED, also for AIR! TRISECT is a nice word to see in there, I'm sure Huygens would agree.

  2. 12:49
    Add me to the list of people who threw down augusTANATional immediately and thought "Boy is this going to be a fast Thursday!" And then moments later dropped in PLANB and looked at that "lB" ending of 13-Down and thought "Hmmmm... maybe not."

    HAUNT (Stomping ground) is great, ORAL (Like instructions you have to hold in your mind) was fun, and best of all - AMY. YES!

  3. 16:51
    Solving on paper today, I was able to star clues, like I like. ARBEGLAERP was, of course, one of the stars, as was DONTPANIC for two reasons: one, the above-pictured book, and two, it was on the dashboard of Musk's car that was just shot into space because, of course, of the book. 6D Having hands, in a way (ANALOG) was starred, as was 52A Orioles legend Ripken (CAL), which I wouldn't have known from the Orioles part, but I recognized the name! And yes, Icarus, I did enjoy TRISECT, too, but I didn't star it for some reason.