Thursday, June 21, 2018

Thursday, June 21, 2018, Milo Beckman and David Steinberg


O brave new world, that has such puzzles in't!

First, we get the shape, which comes in at 17 x 13. At 221 total squares, it's 4 squares fewer than our standard 15 x 15, but allows for a different kind of setup.

The theme is brilliant today. Every evenly numbered row contains answers that can only be considered complete by adding a color to the front of the word. Each row's answers require the same colors, so that you have [RED]EYES, [RED]CARPET, and [RED]BARON in row two. The six colors represented are the primary and secondary colors, and they are ordered as they appear in the rainbow from top to bottom. Sadly, indigo is left out, but we'll all agree that we have a hard time distinguishing that color from its neighbors blue and violet (here purple).

It is impressive fitting 16 theme answers, and all so close together. All told, 90 squares are theme answers, which, with the 12 black squares necessary in those rows, make up 46% of the available real estate in the grid. That has to be a record in the NYT, I would think. All of the answers are recognizable as well, which is nice. I particularly like [BLUE]MEANIES and [ORANGE]BITTERS.
Not the correct HYDE park
In exchange, of course, there is a ton of not so great glue in the fill. I will point at 8D-10D, next to 24D as examples: MPG EEO NTSB ICC. That are a ton of abbr. ltrs. GRU GRO SAK. Oof.

Still, overall, I think the puzzle OWNSIT, and I enjoyed solving. Here's to more atypicality at the Grey Lady!

- Colum

*** Having read commentary elsewhere, I see the colors are meant to represent the rainbow flag, not the rainbow. Thus Purple instead of Indigo and Violet.


  1. As for the flag, well it is Pride month and all....

    And I agree this is a great theme. I didn't quite think of how theme dense it is, which might account for some of the answers which didn't quite thrill me.

    Although I'm probably just bitter because I was nailed by AvIAN flu. I mean, not the disease, the wrong answer. Which I hasten to remind myself, is not as severe a fate as getting the disease.

    Oh, and some sports mascot crossing some faraway city.

    But still, it was fun (finished with three errors in 18:14).

  2. 14:03 (FWOE)

    I call B.S. on [orange]BITTERS. They're stretching, if not outright misusing "classic" in the clue here. I see from deep in the Google results that it was used in precursors to what later became the martini, but no one in their right mind would say that orange bitters is an ingredient in a classic martini. And that's another thing - you don't need to say "gin martini." It's a martini, or it's some bastardization thereof, and for those you have to add the "vodka," or "apple," or whatever.

  3. OH, and my FWOE, FWIW, was a typo in CcE.

  4. Other than that, I enjoyed it. :)

  5. 49:46
    This took me a while, but I didn't see the colors thing until late in the solve. And yes, I should have seen it right away, especially with CARPET and BARON in the second row, but I didn't. I guess somebody was OFFONESGAME. But I'll OWNSIT, and just give a quick shout out to the NENE and BATIK before saying ADIOSAMIGOS. Oh, I tried APenglISH at 25D at first, which didn't do me any favors with the crosses.