Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Tuesday, March 26, 2019, Zhouqin Burnikel


Now, that's a theme, if you ask me. I had absolutely no idea what was going on, even once I'd completed the entire puzzle. The revealer comes at 62A: Start of the baseball season ... or what the start of each starred clue is? (OPENINGDAY). There are seven such starred clues, which should have been the dead giveaway. Finally, I figured out that the first three letters of each answer are the standard abbreviations of the days of the week, in order from Sun. through Sat.

Wow. That takes some doing. That's 60 squares dedicated to the theme, which is pretty amazing. And Ms. Burnikel, as per usual, has a clean fill despite that. Throw in your ADBLITZES and CARALARMS, and you've got a lovely puzzle.

I also note that RBI, TIED, and UPONE could be extra theme material.
Wrong sport
The clues lean towards the easy side. I liked 30A: Moon ____ (apt anagram of ASTRONOMER) (STARER). Apt. Apt! Also, 67A: Fraction of a bushel (PECK) brings me back around to Guys and Dolls. Finally, 64D: Chatty travel companion (GPS) had me laugh out loud. Nice way to make a standard piece of crosswordese (in the modern world) stand out.

- Colum


  1. 6:06 (paper)

    I, too, had to look hard at the puzzle after I finished it to figure out the theme, and I, too, loved it when I did. As we discussed earlier on the phone, the abbreviations run to four letters for TUES and THUR. Nice. I should have known something was up when I dropped in TUESBELLE. You don't usually see an entire French sentence!

    Lastly, WEDIDIT could be bonus material too... at least here in Boston. :P

    1. Wait, I mean... it is bonus material in that it hides WED, but we also won the so-called World Series, so that's even more baseball... I suppose, though, that if you have to go to this effort to explain yourself, that it kind of loses a little something...

  2. I did notice the theme once I got the revealer, but that was towards the end of my solve. But I didn't notice, until I got here, that it includes the weekend.

    And the fill doesn't suffer. Nothing UNEVEN about this one. Almost could be considered an agricultural mini-theme, with PLANT, ROOTS, ANISES, and PECK.

  3. 5:10
    Just a few seconds longer to solve than Monday's, for me. I thought that the Moon STARER thing may have been apt in the 1600s for an astronomer, but that's picking nits. Nice use of Uma THURMAN and FRIARTUCK, and it's great that the two weekend days start and end the puzzle with 4s. Excellent puzzle.