Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Wednesday, January 2, 2019, Jacob Stulberg


Turns out there are a lot more kinds of forks than I had known of.

And that's not even all of them, if you include the "cocktail fork" mentioned in the puzzle. I love the idea: here, a "cocktail fork" is two types of cocktails that start with the same letters, then split apart, one continuing straight, the other at a forty-five degree angle. The challenges of this sort of thing have been covered before: any letter that is included on the fork is "triple-checked," or included in three different answers, which makes the fill much more challenging.

Of the theme answers, MARTINI / MARGARITA and CHERRYPIE / CHEESECAKE are the most dazzling (and the tastiest, in my opinion). The other three examples are only five letters long and differ by only one or two letters. I found SHARK /SHAD the most jarring, but only because they feel so different, they shouldn't fit into the category "fish," even if they o-fish-ally do. See what I did there?

There's a fair amount of less than wonderful fill due to the challenges above, but really, I'm impressed by what Mr. Stulberg was able to weave in. Look at BEEEATERS - an example of the crazy letter combos so popular nowadays among the constructing youth. BRAINLESS is also very good. My favorite may be 42D: No longer interested in (WEARYOF). I love that phrase.

So, yes, there is a bunch of EEE, AAS, COHEIR (really?), and old stalwart ESAI Morales, but I'll take it.

- Colum


  1. This is maybe my favorite puzzle of the year! But, seriously, I loved the theme...GREEN/K was the key to getting the gimmick. It actually took quite a while for me to get all those little forks. (27+ minutes!) Thanks for the Bee Eater picture.

  2. 12:11
    This took me longer than a Wednesday usually does, and I didn't even think about them actually referencing real forks. I suppose a "fruit fork" is similar to the lemon fork pictured above? And what would a cocktail fork be for? To fish olives out of your glass?

    Still, cute idea.

  3. 14:45
    I dislike answers like OSCARII, only because one needs the crosses to get the associated number. It was surprising that DOGBERT took me so long, as I'm a daily reader of that strip. COHEIR is terrible and that entire mid-section wasn't that great with all of the threes in there, but it is an impressive construction and an overall satisfying solve.

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