Thursday, July 11, 2019

Thursday, July 11, 2019, Alex Eaton-Salners


Oh, it took some time for me to figure out what was going on here. I filled in a lot of crossing answers before seeing 26A: slip up (STNEDUTS) and realizing there was no Saint Neduts. Quite the opposite, in some classrooms. What we have here is a reverse clue and reverse answer, nicely disguised. "Slip up" backwards is "pupils," which leads to the answer "students."

If I had gotten all the way to 63A: name tag (RETEPTNIAS - there's that saint I was looking for!), I would have seen right through the trick. That is such a wonderful palindrome worthy word. And in fact, my older daughter, who has gotten suddenly interested in crossword puzzles, was doing an excellent Tuesday from April, 2019 where the across answers all acted this way, equally valid forwards and backwards. Turns out that puzzle's by the same author!

I love the extra layer of hiding the reversibility through reparsing the clues. For example, 17A: Red root was a real challenge to see "to order."

The long down answers are all very nice choices here as well. CHATTERBOX is great, as is WHENINROME. Even though I went into medicine, I'm a huge fan of the HUMANITIES, so that's an excellent answer as well, especially when clued with a little distraction of Trivial Pursuit categories ("History and literature, e.g.").

Some other nice clues include 13A: Make faces, perhaps (DRAW) - not at all what I was expecting. 20A: Note below F, perhaps? (SEEME) - Hah! Great stuff there. Goes with those pesky classrooms and unsaintly students. I also really liked 42A: Live in a studio (ONAIR) - you have to read the first word with a long I to get the meaning right! And lastly, how about 7D: They may be packed for a trip in the mountain (ASSES). Oof, that took some getting. Very nice.

I'm on a poetry kick this week, so...

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan 
A stately pleasure-dome decree: 
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran 
Through caverns measureless to man 
   Down to a sunless sea. 
So twice five miles of fertile ground 
With walls and towers were girdled round; 
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills, 
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; 
And here were forests ancient as the hills, 
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery. 

- Colum


  1. I loved it, too! And thanks for the poetry! :-)

    Do you all live in Boston? That's where I live!

    1. Frannie and I live just outside. Will you be at the Boswords tournament? If so, I'll see you there!

  2. about 14 minutes (paper) (FWOE)

    Nice review! Laughed out loud at St. Neduts.

    I thought of that poem, of course, but Kubla Khan wouldn't work. I think I guessed G, but it's so obvious now... oh well. Two names crossing is always a possible unknown.

    Fun puzzle!

  3. 14:21
    I loved this theme, and stared and stared at STNEDUTS, having gotten the crosses, until I finally figured it out. GNITSIXE is odd-looking, too. Anyway, my favorite may be 38A DIAPER (DEGNEVA), of the theme answers, but that mentioned by Colum, SEEME, is a close second; great clue.