Saturday, March 30, 2019

Saturday, March 30, 2019, Greg Johnson


Another fun themeless puzzle. I'm a little ambivalent about whether I like themeless puzzles better than their themed cousins or not. On the one hand, when done well, they can be packed with fun answers and tough clues. On the other hand, I love the aha moments of figuring out tricky themes.

Well, we'll leave that argument for another day.

Today, lets acknowledge Mr. Johnson's fine efforts. I broke into the grid in the NE corner with OAR and ELLE as well as TOE. I then took a stab at ISITSAFE, which led to the excellent 16A: Something holding up the works? (EASEL) Hah!

VESPERS is a lovely answer, reminding me of The Name of The Rose (by crossword favorite Umberto Eco). The clue at 28D: Totally screw up? (MISADD) is really something: I had to twist my mind around to get what they were looking for. I am more used to seeing Pangaea than PANGEA, but either is acceptable.
Happy Baseball Season
ITJUSTAINTRIGHT is a very good grid-spanner, and with that, I had completed half the puzzle. Getting back out of the SW corner took some doing however. 33A: They're chewable but not meant to be eaten (DOGTOYS) was a challenge, as was MRTOAD's Wild Ride (I've never been inside Disneyland - I once stayed at a Disney Hotel in Orlando for a medical conference, but did not check out the rides).

I love love love 23A: Peabrain? (MENDEL). That's a brilliant clue.

Finally, I confused myself by putting in genetICMATERIAL. In fact, nobody has found DNA or RNA on Mars, simply hydrocarbons (i.e., ORGANICMATERIAL). But I had to take everything out of that corner before I could convince myself that the error was in that answer, rather than in REHEARSAL or CEOS.

- Colum


  1. 11:14

    Never been to Disney? Why you poor, deprived child! Hie thee there! Personally, I prefer Disneyworld, but that may be only because it's closer and I've been there more often. (Three times - but only twice in the "Epcot" era.) I actually can't even remember ever riding Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, but I still knew about it somehow.

    I liked this one a lot. I wondered whether 43D "Well, that was weird" might be "OKaaay," but didn't actually fill anything in past OK until I had some crosses.

    Never heard of GHOSTGUNS, unsurprisingly, but it went in without too much trouble. I loved seeing HERESY in the grid. Heh.

  2. 23:43
    Yes, I agree with Horace. Disney World (far superior to Disneyland, IMO) is lots of fun, especially Epcot, and especially when children are scarce, such as the week after a school vacation. No, no DNA or RNA on Mars, so for me, once I had a few squares, ORGANICMATERIAL went in pretty quickly. I agree with Colum on MENDEL and VESPERS, though I usually think of Rachmaninoff's effort concerning the latter. DIVOT was pretty good, and I was previously unaware of the PANGEA spelling of Pangaea, so I've learned something today.