Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Tuesday, April 9, 2019, Alex Eaton-Salners


In a word, fun! Today's puzzle came with a notice that each Across answer consisted of a word spelled forward and another spelled backward. It was up to the solver to determine which clue went with which answer word. For once in my puzzle solving career, I decided to practice a little strategery, which in this case seemed to point to starting with the Downs. After a first pass, I had a fairly good number of Downs throughout the grid, which then helped considerably in making the necessary choice for each Across. The extra puzzle element reminded me of the Split Decision puzzle I tried at the ACPT. I'm going to guess that Howard Barkin crushed this puzzle. :) 

I LAUD the DUAL nature of each answer! In short, I liked the whole puzzle. It seems like it must have been a challenge to come up with all of these reversible word pairs and then fit them in the grid, and clue them all. I rummage in the proverbial drawer of praise and reward Mr. Eaton-Salners.

Other good pairs include
OPRAH/HARPO (Entertainer Marx / Entertainer Winfrey)
DELIVER/REVILED (Criticized / Save (from))
STUN/NUTS (Daft / Daze)
REED/DEER (Elk, for one / Plant in a bog) - for a cross-over event from yesterday's puzzle
ETS/STE (Holy mlle. / Romulans, e.g., in brief)
and how about RETAR/RATER "Fix, as a driveway" / "Yelp reviewer, e.g." EPT! 
I ran into a little trouble in the center. At 24D I had entered REask, that old crossword darling, for "Pose again, as a question." That, combined with lack of DATA about "Old-time slugger Al" (28D ROSEN), and no hope of getting Ram's sch. / Trojan's sch. without those downs caused me ATAD of trouble with 34A. "Bits of film tape / Film holder". But once I corrected REask to REPUT, SPOOL/LOOPS rolled right into place. 

To RECAP, a REGAL TOILE very little SLOP and just one PART TRAP (for me). 



  1. Ha! I had some of the same slowdowns. REask before REPUT, figuring it must be either USC or cSu but not knowing which, never having heard of ROSEN.

    While I generally approve of this kind of trick, and also hit on the tactic of trying as many downs as I could, this one didn't feel like a very smooth solve. I guess the fact that *all* the acrosses were themed might have been detrimental to the overall quality of the answers.

    But as for favorite answers, there are some decent ones like MAGNETS and ANART, but I'll go with KEGEL. Just the right degree of obscure,

  2. 12:33 (at a conference, talking with strangers)

    This was a real shocker for me, coming on a Tuesday like it did. I only half-read the note, and as it happened, I guessed wrong on about 6 of the first seven words I put in the grid. It took me a little too long to realize that your strategy, Frannie, of working the Downs was really the only way to get started.

    My NAIVEté aside, though, I think this is quite the achievement. A stunt puzzle extraordinaire. And since this week has been all about grid art, I'll add that I think the two plus symbols in the middle today could easily have been intentional, as a way to indicate that there is more going on than first meets the eye, and that each answer is really double... or something like that.

    Really quite good. DELIVER/REVILED... NAMETAG/GATEMAN... STEED/DEETS... very clever!

  3. 16:23
    Well, I just didn't see that note! However, as I was trying to work my way through the across clues, I finally noticed ELIOT/TOILE and thought "Aha. All of them are just lists of the forward/then backward versions of that "word". (some have called this an emordnilap, but I think that's a stretch!)
    Well, that theory quickly, oh so quickly, was disproved! Then, I even gave up on trying to get a pattern of when to use the forward and when to use the backward. Finally, I realized that there was no set pattern and that doing a few down answers would be helpful!
    All that theory and trial and error aside, I loved this puzzle! I even had a dream about it! Someone sitting next to be at a lunch counter was complaining about the quality of the fill and the down answers! We got into a shouting argument when I defended the brilliance of of all those many "theme" words! Ha - where did I think I was - NYC?

  4. 19:01
    I didn't get any note on Across Lite, but I figured out the trick right away. I didn't try going through all of the down clues first; I'd just look at one or two of the downs as I was filling in the across answers, which perhaps slowed me down a little. OPRAH's production company is called HARPO, so that could have been used instead of the Marx brother, but as I greatly prefer a Marx (at least the comedian variety) to OPRAH, I am a fan of the clue as given. Excellent to have a trick puzzle like this on a Tuesday.