Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wednesday, April 18, 2018, Peter A. Collins and Bruce Haight


A 'hex' of a puzzle today. :) The revealer, "Much-covered 1956 Screamin' Jay Hawkins song ... hinting at what happens three times in this puzzle's solution" (IPUTASPELLONYOU) lets us in on the secret: each of the three theme answers contains a HEX. Depending on how you feel about TOOTHEXTRACTION, MATHEXAMs, and CORNCHEX, these may all be the work of evil magicians. :) I was too preoccupied spelling CDE to notice the theme during the solve, although the unusual number of X's did make me wander.

I was charmed by some of the fill, including RATS (excellent as a lamentation, less good instantiated), RETORTS (I am always wishing I had better ones), and TACHYON, which sounds like magic.
Clues and answers I liked:
Ones making a case for drinking? (SODAS) - FANTAstic. :)
One who talks on the phone a lot (SIRI) - well, I don't actually *like* SIRI, but I liked the clue.
Make more alluring (SEXUP) - OHYES.
Flat sign (TOLET) - it works on two levels
Buffoon (ASS) - ha!
Apt name for a worrier (STU) - APT!

We also have a super natural mini theme with MOOMOO, BAA, ASPS, and ANIMALIA, not to mention the aforementioned ASS and RATS.


TOME, the clue "Lump on a trunk" (BURL) was less than enchanting.

Well, that's all for today. I've got a lot voodoo.


  1. Thanks Frannie! Nice of you not to mention EOUS. I'm also glad you didn't mention anything more about vowel movements or the like, or I would have had to put a HEX on YOU! :) Bruce

  2. 14:30 (FWOE)
    I tried an "s" at the NITTI/UPI cross. To me, that was a "Natick." Everyone loves a MATHEXAM, but the other two themers, less so. Nice, smooth puzzle, though, without much of a slowdown anywhere. The elusive TACHYON is an interesting idea, but not too likely. EOUS is terrible (sorry Mr. Haight!), but there isn't LOTS to BEWAIL in there. Mostly I TORE through this, what with such gems like NEXUS, LEXUS and the aforementioned SEXUP. SYNOPSIS and APERTURE are a couple of great downs (to add to Frannie's ANIMALIA and pictured ASTROPOP). Thumbs up, and on to the turn!

  3. As for UPI, I see how that could be a Natick for some, but let me explain.

    We used to have these things called newspapers. They were like blogs, but they'd aggregate a bunch of different authors. Because we didn't have syndecation methods like RSS feeds back then, they'd get their content via something called a wire service, and UPI was one such.

    As for my solve, 15:53. Took a while to get MATHEXAM (stuck on MATHaXis and other less probable ideas for a while).

    1. Thanks for the explanation. Although I read a daily newspaper (actual) and a local weekly (actual), I'd never heard of it. I'll be on the lookout for references to it from now on, and hopefully will be familiar enough so that I can drop it in when next it's clued.

    2. Stands for United Press International and is/was a competitor to Reuters and Associated Press, if you want a less tongue in cheek answer.

  4. 8:10
    Mmm... Chex mix...

    Also, we've had both etui and AIT this week! We're kickin' it old school! Now just throw in an esne, an esme, and an erse and we'll be all set!

  5. 5:11
    This has maybe been the easiest week I've seen in a long time (commenting after Thursday's solve). And this puzzle was 15 x 16! I really liked this theme.