Sunday, February 3, 2019

Sunday, February 3, 2019, Natan Last


Remember all that stuff I was saying just one week ago about how I didn't often like a Sunday puzzle? Well forget it! This one was thoroughly enjoyable. Well, there were two small areas that I thought were problematic - the cross of ORYX (52D: Margaret Atwood's "____ and Crake") and CALYX (62A: Sepals of a flower), and the cross of 106D: Literary fairy queen (MAB) and 112A: Actress Jean who played Joan of Arc in "Saint Joan" (SEBERG). Luckily for me, I knew MAB, but unluckily, I misspelled CALiX, and so had to hunt around for a while at the end.

"Put me down!"
That quibble aside, I loved the tricky theme, which took a while to understand. For me, the revelation came with AHCOMPLEX (65A: Belief in one's role as a savior) coupled with Lionel MESSI (86D: FIFA star ejected from 65-Across). The soccer player's name has been "ejected" from the 65-Across answer, which should have been "Messiah complex." There are three other ejected sports figures - Jerry RICE, Babe RUTH, and Shaquille ONEAL, who, when added back to their respective paired answers reveal "price of admission," "the truth will set you free," and "one-alarm chili." And speaking of that, I think Frannie's planning on making some chili for dinner tonight - that is, if we're at all hungry for dinner after snacking on chips and onion dip all through the Superbowl.

I like how the "reasons for ejection" correspond to the four different sports played by the ejected stars. RUTH was a pitcher for a time when he was on the Red Sox, and it would not surprise me if I heard that he threw a BEANBALL or two. (Although I would be surprised if, at that time, it was even a reason for ejection.) Likewise I can imagine Shaq throwing a FLAGRANTFOUL from time to time, and maybe even MESSI giving an ILLEGALSLIDETACKLE, but Jerry RICE giving a HELMETHIT? He probably got plenty, but he just seems like too nice a guy to have ever given one, doesn't he?

OK, so that's a lot about the theme. I said yesterday that I was going to be more aware of writing too much... and here I am doing just that. But I liked this one a lot! CAFFEINEFIX was excellent. FIJIISLANDS is great, too, what with its "IJII" string... and UNFRIEND is timely for me, as I just completely deleted my ten-year-old Facebook account last week!

I'll stop now. Maybe Frannie will chime in with something, but if not, rest assured that she will take over again tomorrow. Me, I'll see you in a few weeks. Until then, happy puzzling!

- Horace


  1. Ridiculous! Rot! Bias!

    Mr. Last, thinking he's putting together a clever sports-themed puzzle, is way off the mark here! Let me guess, he's a jealous New Yorker. A hater, I say! RAMS, but no PATRIOTS??

    Go PATS!

  2. 57:18
    This one took a little longer than normal since I didn't see the theme right away. I wanted "god complex," but the crosses kept stubbornly making it AHCOMPLEX. Then I tried putting rebuses in, then I got it. Anyway, COGNATE is excellent, and a word I don't run across too often. I didn't know ORYX, but spelled CALYX correctly and guessed that MA_IE would be MARIE, but OHWAIT, I did nearly err at CLICKS/KUROSAWA briefly and oddly, and SOFTG nearly got me, again. But I'm with Horace: excellent Sunday and very entertaining. Also, I watched the Superbowl.