Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sunday, June 24, 2018, Timothy Polin

Creature Feature

I hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew; I’m on tap to review today’s puzzle and I’ve never even seen the movie JAWS (1975 summer blockbuster). Luckily, as it turned out, there wasn’t much theme-related fill beyond AMITYISLAND that required the expert knowledge of an OLDHAND. The popup info screen even gave away the puzzle's added component – an image that would be revealed when a line was drawn connecting five appropriate squares. The squares that filled the bill each contained the apt rebus FIN, including the extra apt DORSAL[FIN]. 49D. “Pixielike” EL[FIN] first clued me into the rebus. I was glad it did, as the blade of the “fin” had been giving me some trouble until then.

The puzzle contains a lot of excellent theme fill, but the form of the grid itself was also used to excellent theme advantage. The line of black squares in the middle represent the surface of the ocean under which lurks, dead center, the GREAT WHITE SHARK, in very good company with SEAMONSTER and WATERHAZARD on the left and on the DEEPTHREAT and REELBIGFISH on the right. Quite sharp! Above water line we find SPEILBERG on the left and MANEATING on the right. I found the symmetry and balance of the theme answers very pleasing.

Maybe the theme could be expanded to include SALTBATH (Bit of hydrotherapy) and CASPER, the great white friendly ghost as well. :)
In addition to the extensive theme-related fill, there were other clues to sink one’s teeth into. I liked both INERTGAS and GEARBOX in the northeast. GLIB, MALIGN, and FRAZZLES are nice words.

I also liked the clue “Mother or sister” for NUN, DEAFEAR (Metaphor for deliberate ignorance], and CAB for Hack.

Some clues did put me off my chum. I thought DREADS clued as a plural noun instead of a verb was weird. I have a lot of dreads? I also don’t think of HUFFINESS as an especially “Peevish quality,” but  maybe I just have to go back to school.

I gnashed my teeth when I realized the answer to 114D “Oscar ____ (Hollywood honor, informally) was going to be NOM. That abbreviation gets my Speedo in a bunch.



  1. 35:54
    Good time for a Sunday for me. I liked that one of the rebuses is [FIN]NS, for obvious reasons. But on the other hand, sure, one needs to be one of the [FIN]ISHERS to be up for a marathon prize, but one also needs to be an elite for the most part. Certainly, no matter how hard I train, I'm not winning any prize in any marathon. What, Frannie's never seen "JAWS?" Shocking. The movie is one of the great ones; lots of excellent characters, memorable lines/scenes and good, tight story line. I loved all of the Zs down there in the SW, and the mention of "In Dulci Jubilo." I've never heard of BOBATEA, but SIGMAS are well-known to me. It was a welcome surprise having a rebus on a Sunday. And it's fitting since this is World Oceans Month (does anyone else solve the month's special puzzle?).

  2. Thank you for this wonderful's so cheerful!

    I loved Sunday's puzzle. But I'm wondering if I'm the only one who actually saw the movie poster for "Jaws" in the grid art?

  3. Hi Kelly! I just looked up the original movie poster and I see what you mean, but I didn't notice it when reviewing the puzzle yesterday. Maybe I was putting too FIN a point on it? :)

  4. LOL, Frances! But honest, it really does look like the poster to me. Thank you so much for responding! Actually, you're not alone (actually, *I* may be the one whose alone on this.) Jeff Chen actually posted the poster (sounds weird, but you know what I mean) and STILL didn't get it. Oh well...both he and Will recommended your blog, and I'm grateful to them for doing it.

    All my best,
    Kelly <----aka Kelly Clark

  5. Hi Kelly - I definitely see what you mean, too. The two arcs of black squares running from 55 or 47 to 58, and from 112 to 109 definitely evoke the two layers of teeth in the shark's mouth. I don't know Mr. Polin to ask him, but if this was intentional, it's pretty impressive.

    In order for the theme of the puzzle to work, you need to use that central horizontal line as the water level, and that kind of doesn't work with the teeth, but two things can be true at the same time. Just don't think of them both at once. :)

  6. I actually thought the grid art worked both as the water, and as the shark as viewed from above, with it's posterior fins at the bottom of the puzzle.

  7. Just like the movie poster...sorta :-)