Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Thursday, July 26, 2018, Nate Cardin


For the first time ever, I put a rebus in on the very first clue I looked at, and it was (essentially) correct! I read "1D: A.T.M. necessity" and first thought "PIN," but looked and saw it was four letters... but then I thought "What the hell, it's Thursday, this could be it..." and dropped in PIN[number]. I'm not sure whether they would have allowed the word rebus, because a little while later, I got #CAKE, and I went back and changed to the symbol in 1D, but still... I was feeling my oats!


Interesting that the symbol has so many variant names and uses. I was not aware of its use in proof-reading to mean "space," but the clues at 27D and 48A could have called for nothing else. Also, the two names given in this puzzle - OCTO THORPE and HASH TAG - are the two most recent of all the names, it seems. The former being created (probably) in the 1960s (originally might have been "octotherp") by employees at Bell Labs as a joke, and the latter coming into common use at around the same time, possibly because it resembled cross-hatching. The Wikipedia article on what they call the "number sign" is pretty interesting. My favorite alternate name is "Capital 3," which is hilarious.

Anywho... I like that four different meanings are used here. And I also like plenty in the fill. MANCALA is a game I remember playing with Colum's younger daughter (although I didn't know the name of it until just now) when she was about five. She beat me every single time. I'm not kidding. And I wasn't just trying to lose because she was a cute little five-year-old. I don't play games and try to lose. Ask anyone.

REDACT (19A: Black out, in a way) is an excellent word, and it's an odd coincidence that it crosses MADLIB, an activity created through REDACTion. And who doesn't enjoy the mindless entertainment of a JUMBLE from time to time?

REFARM, EATER, and SIZERS were a bit of a NUISANCE, but a shiny AMULET and tumbling ACROBATS are enough to distract me, at least, from the lesser elements. Like SIMONES... yeesh. But CMON, it's a debut puzzle (!!), it's a cool idea, and I learned a lot today, so it's getting a big thumbs up from me.

- Horace


  1. I liked this puzzle even though it was a DNF for me on the cross between IKEA (where I was trying to find an insurance company) and two people I'd never heard of.

    ADAMN was a mighty fine clue. Oh, and I guess the OJ trial is now considered too obscure to provide the clue foe ITO (or, better yet, it is better to avoid proper names).

    Oh, and I liked the clue for #CAKE because that clue could describe a fairly large number of desserts (based on different proportions of those ingredients).

    Fast for me, 18:31.

    Oh, and who is going to Lollapuzoola? I'll be there. The Saturdays in August are almost upon us, which means it is getting close.

  2. I won't be getting to Lollapuzzoola, but you have reminded me (thank you!) about Boswords, which is this Sunday! I'll definitely be going to that.

  3. 5:58
    Fun puzzle! I agree, there is some rough fill, but I love the symbol use. I too put in [number] initially at 1D, but changed when the double revealers suggested the # symbol instead. I'd never heard of OCTO/THORPE. That's a great new piece of trivia.

  4. 12:49
    Add me to putting in [number] first, but, like Colum, went back to change it when I got the revealers. No NUISANCEs here for me, and to address Mr. Kingdon, ITO is often clued with the OJ trial. It's not obscure at all to most solvers of these puzzles, I'd guess since they're probably of a certain AGE. And like Horace, I will not be attending Lollapuzzola.

    1. Yes, exactly. Having seen ITO as OJ crosswordese, it is interesting to see it clued another way and speculate about whether it has a sell-by date (although I personally am of an AGE so that I don't know it exclusively from crosswords, it is the sort of thing I almost surely would have forgotten by now if not for the crossword reminders).