Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Wednesday, June 26, 2019, Zhouqin Burnikel


Today was one of those rare occasions where I actually understood an early-week theme as I was solving and used it to help me finish. I figured it out at the first opportunity, with 17A: Hebrews (BEERMAKER), then I think I just ended up filling in TRUEBELIEVERS (Weaver) with a lot of crosses and then by filling in what I thought made sense. But it was in the bottom half that I was able to split "Sheriffs" into "she riffs," and enter JAZZGUITARIST. Likewise with APPRAISER (Irate). It was only later that I went back and understood 24A to be read as "we aver." That's the weakest one, by far, but overall I enjoyed the theme.


Another way that I was unusually "aware" of the puzzle today was that I could almost feel the clues getting slightly trickier. It's Wednesday, after all, and I noticed things like "Short cut" (BOB), "Key with a chain, maybe" (ISLE), and "Printed slips" (TYPOS). All non-question-mark clues, and all "Whimsically witty" (DROLL). I thought the overall "feel" of the puzzle was one of good-natured cleverness - "Produce producers" (FARMS), "Help around the house" (MAID), and "Something a college junior has that a freshman usually doesn't" (MAJOR), for example, all have an element of fun.

I also enjoyed the many "spoken" answers: ENGARDE ("Get ready!"), STOPIT ("Cut that out!"), THENERVE ("What chutzpah!"), and, less excitedly, BEENTHERE (Empathetic comment). Ironically, I read that last one as "emphatic comment" the first time I came across it. Heh.

Lastly, it was kind of refreshing to see more "female-oriented" entries like CAMISOLE, LABORBOB, and PIECE (One-____ (modest bathing attire)) to balance out the usual references to sports and cars that are more commonly (but not exclusively, of course) thought of as male-oriented.

Overall, I found this a very enjoyable mid-week solve. Plus, it's always nice to see my sister SUE in the grid. (Hi SUE!) :)

- Horace


  1. What a fun puzzle! I finally got the theme at SHE RIFFS, had the B at 17 Across, and found myself trying to elongate the word BARISTA to fit. (Duh!) BEER MAKER is such a snappy answer and the last one for me to fall into place.

  2. 8:44
    I did not get the theme until I finished the puzzle. I had the hardest time getting going in the NW corner, and until I forced myself to put EVES in, got nowhere. In part, this was because I had convinced myself that 1A: Spanish newborn (BEBE) had to be "nino" or "nina," even though neither worked with the down clues. Sometimes you just can't get around a preconception. Meanwhile, I loved the theme. It made me laugh out loud, especially "Sheriffs." That's brilliant!

  3. 14:21
    Like Horace, I figured the theme out at BEERMAKER, even though I didn't love the term itself since "beer brewer" is more common. And like Colum, I loved JAZZGUITARIST; definitely the best of the bunch. SNOOT is great, and I didn't find TRUEBELIEVER to be weak at all. I'm not sure that SUE reads the blog, but maybe she does, and it is nice to see her in the grid. Not much was too TIRED or SAD in the grid (except, maybe, REM). I dropped both COBB and SNEAD in off of the clues, and the same goes for NODOZ (BEENTHERE). A fine mid-week puzzle.

  4. I didn't spot the theme until I came here. Was looking for anagrams or using the letters from the clue in the answer or something like that.