Sunday, June 23, 2019

Sunday, June 23, 2019, David Liben-Nowell and Victor Barocas


I love the theme today! I guess I’ve always been the kind of person who enjoys challenging standards and pushing at boundaries and restrictions. So when I come across a puzzle that so obviously breaks the established norms by having nine words appear twice in the grid, I am delighted. The justification here (and there always should be some justification - I don't suggest anarchy!) is that when you encounter each word a second time, the word “second” is implied. As in 55A: What you will always be (but he or she isn’t)? (PERSON). That’s “second person,” grammatically. Excellent.

They’re all perfectly “in the language,” and somehow each of them surprised me a little bit. It’s lucky Frannie was sitting beside me on the couch, and we were solving together, so she could explain it over and over again. :)
Aside from the excellent theme, there were some additional bonus elements. I very much enjoyed the clues for HOTTUB “Somewhere to chill, paradoxically” (Clever!), BERRA (“If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him” speaker) (He never disappoints), and the first NATURE (“All ____ is but art, unknown to thee”: Alexander Pope).
“Indication of good taste?” (YUM), “Couple of high points?” (UMLAUT), and “Shell station?” (SEASHORE) were three cute QMCs. And if I weren’t on the SEASHORE myself right now, where the Internet connection is not at all reliable, I would try to find out why a BANANA is slightly radioactive! Is it bad that I eat one every day?!?
And maybe it’s all that radioactive fruit I’ve been eating, but I am not sure I understand TDS (Bear necessities, for short?). I guess they must mean the Chicago Bears, a football team, but somehow putting it into the singular just seems a little too far to go.
But that aside, I still call for a LAUREL for Misters Liben-Nowell and Barocas. They’re both real SMARTIES in my book.

- Horace


  1. Me too, me too! Loved it! I had several pairs into the grid before noticing them...and it was that "second" PERSON entry that tipped me off! AHA!
    I did have a spot of trouble with "TUNaS" in the uppper NE - could have been some sort of fish terms with which I was unfamiliar...
    And since I live right beside my computer, I'll tell you a bit about bananas - they have a naturally occurring radioactive potassium isotope. It is noncumulative in the body. Someone, circa 1995, came up with a measurement for such things - called Banana equivalent dose (BED). The Wiki article is pretty cool for any one who want more deets!
    Thanks for the review.

  2. Fun puzzle, to be sure. I was so confused when I started seeing repeated answers in the puzzle. I finally figured it out with [second] NATURE. I too have a problem with the clue for TDS. And I messed up with putting in UTEp instead of UTES, so that was a FWOE. But otherwise a fun Sunday, and that's saying something!

  3. I loved solving this puzzle! A perfect way to enjoy a relaxing Sunday afternoon...which is all I ask from the NYT Crossword Puzzle team!

    1. Hi Kelly! Thanks for checking in on us and leaving a comment! Glad to hear you also liked this one, and that you had what sounds like a lovely afternoon. :)

    2. It was terrific, Horace...thank YOU for the wonderful blog!

  4. 49:03 (on paper)
    I didn't know what was going on when it became obvious that there were two STRINGs side-by-side, but I eventually figured it out. Great how something like this gets IDEATED by a PERSON. I wanted steAlING where PIRATING goes, so that slowed me down a bit in the NE, and I tried soNgS where TUNES goes, but overall, I didn't have many problems. I think a more appropriate clue for HEDGEHOG would've been "Spiny Norman."