Saturday, May 11, 2019

Saturday, May 11, 2019, Robyn Weintraub


I have learned over lo these many years of puzzling that seeing Ms. Weintraub's byline means we're going to get a high quality themeless puzzle, and today's does not disappoint. In fact, this has been one of my favorite weeks of blogging in quite some time.

First off, is it possible that STKITTS and NEVIS were the seed entries for the puzzle? Or was it simply happenchance that they could fit in so neatly near each other as the rest of the puzzle came together? I thank my unhealthy interest in Sporcle quizzes for my knowledge of tiny Caribbean North American island countries.

I love how all the long answers in this grid intersect. SCHNITZEL (such a lovely crunchy word) meeting STRINGTHEORY, crossing CONTOURMAP and INNERPEACE. So excellent.

The NW section also has a primer on the difference between QMC and non QMC clues. At 17A: Car owner's manual? (STICKSHIFT) is a classic QMC. Here the trickiness is the alternate meaning of the word "manual," from a how-to book to an adjective describing the gearshift mechanism. On the other hand, at 20A: One might get stuck in an office (POSTITNOTE) is tricky only in that the word "one" is referring to an object rather than a person.

On the whole, I enjoy the non QMC clues better, because they don't alert you to the presence of trickiness, making the "aha" moment more enjoyable. For example, 8D: Giraffe's sound? (SOFTG) was a gimme because of the question mark. Whereas in the past, I have been repeatedly fooled by this kind of clue. Or maybe I've just gotten wise to their sneaky ways. Those sneaky sneaky crossword constructors!

Finally, my favorite clue and answer came at 48A: Unlucky phrase to end on (HELOVESMENOT). That's fun stuff.

- Colum


  1. 12:32

    I was particularly happy when, at this year's ACPT, Ms. Weintraub handed me one of the contest puzzles, and as she did so I said "Hi. I love your puzzles." How nerdy is that?

    Anyway, I agree that this was an excellent Saturday.

  2. I don't think it's nerdy at all... but then I may be a bit biased!

  3. 17:09 (FWTE)
    Ah well, it went so smoothly, but I didn't get the smiling pencil. I don't know anything about Texas hold 'em, so I screwed up on the TRIPS/ROTO/IRIS crosses, guessing an f and e there. I didn't think that TfePS seemed correct, but like I said above.... And maybe T-feps is a hand. The rest was great, and like Colum, SOFTG didn't get me, either. I thought STRAIN was good, as was EVILGENIUS (to add to Colum's list of gems). Just what a Saturday should be, if a bit on the easy side (notwithstanding my errors).

  4. An unwitting pun at 10D. Court org is not only about basketball. The National Bar Association was founded in 1925 as the Negro Bar Association when the ABA would not accept black lawyers as members.