Thursday, April 26, 2018

Thursday, April 26, 2018, Alex Eaton-Salners


I shudder to think of the difficulty in constructing what looks on the surface like a pretty straightforward concept. First of all, you want the referenced answers to be close (if not right next to) the answers they refer to. Second, where the referenced answers are have to be fixed in place (at 1A, 24A, 40A, and 50A in this puzzle). Third, there have to be clues for those numbers!

By that last, I mean that not every number has a clue associated with it. For example, 23A does not exist in this puzzle. And for that reason, I imagine this puzzle would be infinitely harder to create if you were putting these answers in down positions. In that situation, each of these answers would need to have either the upper edge of the puzzle or a black square positioned above it.

In the end, the four phrases, 1-OVER, 24-SEVEN, 40-WINKS, and 50-FIFTY are all solid. They're hardly groundbreaking examples of phrases of the form "number-word". In fact, I'm pretty sure I've seen all of them in crossword puzzles before. Still, I admire the craftsmanship here.

So is the rest of the puzzle worth it? Well, I'll bet that our five or so regular readers will know that I'm not fond of puzzles that are so segmented. Note the lack of connectivity between the NW and SE corners and the diagonal swath from the SW to the NE. That being said, the corners are chunky and filled with some (but not a lot of) fun stuff.

I very much liked 2D: Yellow Monopoly avenue (VENTNOR) because I got it without any crossings. I also liked 33A: Citizens of the only country that relies significantly on online voting in elections (ESTONIANS) both for the forward seeing nature of their voting systems and because I visited Talinn in 1987 (before the USSR broke up). And OHFUDGE continues our week's acknowledgement of the finer arts of swearing (c.f. Gdansk).

At the same time, there's quite a reliance on proper names, including ANSE (never much cared for Faulkner), ROBERTI, APOLO, ELROY, MENLO, and RYN just in the NW corner alone. And by the way, I think we all know Rembrandt would have spelled it Rijn, right? Having said that, I have just Googled it, and I find that I am correct.

So on the whole, I like the idea, but think the junk too expensive.

- Colum


  1. 24:23 (FWOE)
    Never much cared for Faulkner? Shocking. Anyway, my error was at the LENE/RYN crossing, so shoot me. I tried an "s" and didn't get the happy "Congratulations!" pencil. Everything else went right along, and I even enjoyed the theme, even though it isn't a proper Thursday rebus. The grid was a bit segmented, but there were enough entries into the different segments to make that fact not bother me too much. I tried "Atlantic" where VENTNOR belongs, but alas, I was short one square. Good clue for USAIN (21D Bolt of lightning speed). I guess I come down slightly on the thumbs-up side for this one, even though it wasn't quite a total PLEASER.

  2. 13:22

    I, too, was annoyed by RYN. I once discussed with a Dutch friend the difference between y and ij, and he insisted there was one, but I can't really explain what that difference was right now. I'll see him again soon, and maybe I'll try to get a better handle on it then.

    I liked this one all right. OPENSINON is a bit tortured... but it's not terrible.