Sunday, May 26, 2019

Sunday, May 26, 2019, Ruth Bloomfield Margolin


What happens when you take the voiced sound out of phrases and replace it with the unvoiced sound? And then you take the new phrase and clue it wackily? You get the New York Times Sunday Crossword today, that's what you get.

And you also get a new week of reviews from me! I bet you had no idea that's what happens when you do all that.

I am actually really impressed by all of the entries today. The best of the lot is clearly at 70A: Final scene of "Antony and Cleopatra"? (HISSANDHEARSE). You get the double replacement, a solid starting phrase, and the brilliance of the reinterpretation of Cleopatra's death scene. I love it. I also really enjoyed TELLMENOLICE as a feverish prayer on the part of a desperate parent.

So great theme, which is what you most need on a Sunday. Secondly, you need to feel like it's not a slog to get through the fill, and for the most part, this puzzle succeeds there as well. Some less than impressive answers included TEENER and TENTER (weirdly in symmetric places in the grid), and the standard glue in ITSA and VOL. 42A: Mozart's "____ Pastore" (ILRE) screams of desperation. The constructor must have gotten herself into quite a corner to rely on that atypical partial.

On the other hand, I liked 51A: Blue material (DENIM) - the classic misdirection by being a straightforward definition. Some people take a HARDCIDER, but not I. I like harder stuff than that. And a reference to the outstanding Harold ARLEN is always welcome, even if it's dated.

I got off on a misstep by confidently entering orion at 1A: Mythical hunter (DIANA), and had to work my way around that error, but otherwise found the puzzle on the easyish side. Pretty darned good for a Sunday.

- Colum


  1. 46:16
    Hmm. I found it a bit harder than a typical Sunday. I, too, started out with orion confidently entered at 1A, which didn't help matters, and TWOPIECEINAPOD, which is fantastic, took a long time to get. PEETA helped. I just finished the last of the "Three Musketeer" offerings ("The Man In The Iron Mask") and was surprised that three of the four end up dead (I won't spoil it for people, if you haven't read it yet, by revealing which one survives). Anyway, ATHOS went right in for me at 10A. We can probably do without the BIEB, and I definitely agree with Colum on the desperation of using ILRE. But this never felt sloggish to me, so thumbs up from the YBH.