Thursday, June 14, 2018

Thursday, June 14, 2018, Joe Krozel


An eleven-word word ladder today, with first, middle, and last anchor points giving ROLL CALL VOTE. Word ladders are kind of cool, but they make for kind of an anti-climactic puzzle. Nobody likes seeing "Fifth word ..." as a clue, and to have it happen over and over again is, well, not the greatest. Still, the ladder of ROLL, POLL, PALL, PALM, CALM, CALL, MALL, MALE, MATE, MOTE, VOTE is a pretty nice stunt. It's all symmetrical too, which I guess it would have to be... so let's just appreciate that for a minute.


OK, now what about the fill? For once I was not fooled by 21A: Start to instigate? (LETTERI). Full disclosure, I had the L from REEL, which helped. Nor was I stumped for very long by 31D: Source of multicolored Maos (WARHOL), but I needed a lot of crosses for ACACIA (30D: Gum arabic source). Who knew?

Frannie enjoyed finding some ROYALBLOOD in her family tree a while back (though, I think it was on the wrong side of the sheets, as it were), and LOVERSLEAP is a nice evocative term. I didn't love seeing CHOKECOLLAR right there in the middle, and SEMIARID is, well, a little SEMIARID.

The "name down the center" (well, near-center, as this is a 16 column puzzle) continues today with the first name of artist WILLEM de Kooning. I'm a fan of art in general, and de Kooning is a fine practitioner of same, so thumbs up there. How long can they keep it up, one wonders?

In the SW, the entries IVANI and DANDD look odd one on top of the other, and I applaud the audacity. Overall, a word ladder on a Thursday is always going to be a bit of a let-down, but I can still find things to enjoy.

- Horace


  1. Well I wrote in ROLL CALL VOTE off the clue and ACACIA was easy-ish for me. On the other hand WARHOL took most/all of the crosses, so I'm again a bit out of the wheelhouse of some other solvers (sorry for that somewhat scrambled metaphor, I tried some others which were even worse).

    I'm not especially pro or con word ladders, although having this one unclued was sort of iffy. I mean if I didn't like clues I'd just play Scrabble instead of crosswords.

    Easy (Thursday wise) for me at 17:34.

  2. 8:32
    Oh well. The word ladder concept is fine if unexciting. The problem here is that in order to make it work, the constructor had to add two completely unnecessary words. The ladder should have gone right from PALL to CALL without PALM and CALM in the middle. That's not the way word ladders should work, so I'm giving it a thumbs down, especially as it's taking up valuable fun Thursday real estate.

  3. 14:48
    Meh on word ladders. This was an easy Thursday puzzle, but there's some stuff in here not to like, such as TVVCR. At least it crosses VILLA, which brings back nice memories from Italy 2012, as did CENTO. All-in-all, I guess IMOK with this one, but I'd prefer a more interesting Thursday.