Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Tuesday, July 16, 2019, Ross Trudeau


I cannot remember ever seeing a NYT puzzle like this before. Six "cheater squares" (as I think the pros are wont to call them) at the top of the grid have been made white*, instead of black, to emphasize the diagonal lines. And at the apex of each diagonal we have two unchecked squares. Strange. And why? Because the theme is AFRAMEBUILDINGS.


And it's not just those black-square diagonals - running underneath them we have diagonal rows of As. The top left run of As extends all the way to the puzzle's edge, but none of the other three do. To me, it kind of seems like the beginning of an idea that still has some rough edges. If there had been no other As in the grid save those diagonals, or if the revealer had been the more common A-frame houses... I don't know.

I don't like it. I don't like the white squares trying to pretend they're not there. I know they're there to avoid even more unchecked squares and two-letter answers, but I still don't like it. I don't like the unchecked squares. I don't like the sloppiness of one line of As being longer than the rest, I don't like starting with ABRA...

I do, on the other hand, like the four long Down answers. ROOFGARDENS (Adjuncts to some penthouses) is lovely, and it's nice to get LIONELMESSI's full name, after seeing just his last so often. REGALED (Entertained with a story, say) is a good one, and FACEPLANT (Embarrasing fall) is fun. I even like ANTECEDE (Predate) and ANNEALER (Glassworker, at times), but I do not like JANDJ, and I don't think ALES would be "marked with 'XXX' in the comics." In my mind, anyway, those jugs contain moonshine, not some craft-brewed ale.

So not all bad, and I understand the desire to keep the themes fresh and to try new things, but this one just didn't work for me.

- Horace

* The black squares were made white when solving the puzzle online through the NYT crossword site. It may not have been like that in other platforms.


  1. 5:50 (FWOE)
    It's a no go for me. I don't like the white squares at all, and while the architectural nature of the grid shape and the multiple As is interesting, the AFRAMEBUILDINGS revealer is, as you said, not what they're called. I also forgot that the lawn darts were called JARTS. I put a D in there, and thus got my FWOE.

  2. FWIW - I was unsettled by those white squares...what are they doing? Why are they there? Isn't there something very clever to tie them into an extra special effect??? No!
    I didn't even notice any of those little lines of diagonal As...their presence makes me fell a bit better about this puzzle idea.
    Add that to my time of 13:33 and 3 errors...just not a good solve for me. I thought I was right with "ANTENae" crossing "eMEND" - bah! That left me out in the cold for "eNN?ALER".
    Around these parts where we (used to) get lots of snow, we have lots of these buildings - we call them "A Frames" and let it go at that!
    Jarts - the all purpose killing game for the lawn - boy were they fun!
    Thanks -

  3. 7:50
    No white squares on Across Lite, but I never am a huge fan of puzzles that, once the theme is grokked, one can just fill in a bunch of squares mindlessly. Country singers should be avoided in general, and ones I've never heard of (JESSIE James Decker) in particular. FACEPLANT was by far the best answer.