Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Tuesday, January 22, 2019, John E. Bennett and Jeff Chen


What a great concept today! The middle of the puzzle warns us to WATCHYOURSTEP, which is appropriate, because there are four different kinds of snakes in the grass today, nicely winding around the puzzle, as indicated by the circles. And today I have no problem with the circles: they're necessary to find the serpents, as they are nine and ten letters long! Also impressive is how all four of them start or end on the revealer.

I wonder if the puzzle was not meant to be in this month, given 1A: Jan. honoree (MLKJR) - we just had the puzzle yesterday in honor of the Civil Rights Movement. I was confused at first, because the first snake, the KINGCOBRA, starts at the K of Dr. King, Jr.'s name.

With all of those triple-checked letters (38 of them!), Mr. Bennett and Mr. Chen do a good job of avoiding too much less than stellar fill. EIEIO crossing LII, and UFC crossing AFC are examples of the compromises necessary. But look elsewhere: LANDSLIDES, WINGSPREAD, PAWNSHOPS? All excellent. And I love the idea of a TWIBE. I've never come across that term before, and I don't do Twitter, so I'll probably never use it again, but it's a great term.

Favorite clue of the day comes at 33D: Ore, for one? (TYPO). It would be a tough typo to make in real life, as the R is so far away from the N on a keyboard. Maybe more of an autocorrect? Regardless, it's a great repurposing of that eternal bit of crosswordese, "ore."

On that same crosswordese note, wouldn't it be nice if "ogle" and LEERS weren't so crossword friendly? It would be preferable to get away from the male gaze for a while. Now they have to be clued with words like "creepy" to prove that the constructors aren't part of the bro culture.

- Colum


  1. 8:41
    Yeah, this was remarkably clean given the very high number of triple-checked letters. And I hadn't noticed the part about them beginning or ending on the revealer - that's elegant!

    TWIBE was, probably unsurprisingly, also new to me. I like it, and I think they should always have Elmer Fudd as a spokesperson.

  2. 8:55
    I don't like TWIBE too much, although Horace's Elmer Fudd suggestion makes it much better. I got TORRE off of the "T!" How's that for a non-sports person? And I agree with both of the above: this is an excellent and surprising Tuesday theme, and very skillfully accomplished.