Thursday, March 29, 2018

Thursday, March 29, 2018, Claire Muscat and David Steinberg


Not too tough a nut to crack today - certainly faster than an average Thursday for me. The theme answers are three sets of shaded squares in the grid each containing a nut broken up by one letter of the word NUT (A[N]CORN, ALMO[U]ND, PEC[T]AN). Maybe the unannounced title of the puzzle is "Nut Cracker." All this talk of nuts puts me in mind of a great bit from "Best in Show." Genius.

Today's nutmeats include:
16A. Summer camp craft (CANOE) - nice ambiguity. I was thinking multi-colored-yarn God's Eye, Popsicle(R) stick tissue box holder, or hand-stamped leather wallet, but couldn't make any of them fit. :)
45D. Like good spellers? (WICCAN) - bewitching clue.
43A. Puts blades to blades, say (MOW) - clever.
3D. Suave (URBANE) - both are good words.

And in re: 30A. Powdered ingredient in sweet teas and smoothies (TARO), I think I just heard about this from the commentators of Sunday's ACPT championship. If true, I did learn something at the tournament after all.

My comPLAITS are few:
5A. The answer to this clue is located on one (EDGE) - fine, but not fine.
19A. ADDLE for Scramble - less apt than I like.
26A. ___ place (ONES) - meh



  1. Yet another Thursday with not an interesting enough theme. But (I misspelled that as "Nut" for a hot second) the puzzle is super smooth, as you'd expect from Mr. Steinberg. But I see that this is Ms. Muscat's first puzzle. I saw her at the ACPT - I believe she may have left her stickers at the podium and Mr. Shortz had to call her up to get them? Congratulations are definitely in order.

  2. First puzzle this week that I was able to smoothly finish. This week has either been a bit harder than normal, or else I hit my head a little too hard on puzzle 5 from Saturday's ACPT.

  3. I do like these puzzles that have a nicely accessible theme, give a bit of that 'a-ha' moment, and yet do not overdo it (making really obscure fill to make the theme fit).
    Howard B

  4. 18:47
    I'm with Colum on the "not an interesting enough theme" bandwagon, but it was smooth. I didn't even notice MOWS in there, Frannie, and it goes along with LAWNS and, maybe, EDGE for a SNUG little mini-theme. I put in brAIdS at first where PLAITS goes, but luckily the crosses fixed that up nicely. NEMEAN makes another appearance, but this time, it's not unknown to me. I suppose I should watch WALLE at some point; I hear it's good.

  5. I side with Howard here - I enjoyed this simple, yet elegant theme. Plus, the college Frannie and I went to had BURIALMOUNDS on the campus, so that was nice to have in the puzzle, too.