Thursday, October 10, 2019

Thursday, October 10, 2019, Tracy Gray

0:12:22 (F.W.O.E.)

It's Thursday today, and I knew something was going down, as it were, as soon as I got to 18A: What margarine has, unlike butter (NOC[HOLE]STEROL), but I didn't yet know what, exactly, would be the trick until I got to the revealer: WATCHYOURSTEP ("Tread carefully!" ... or a hint to four dangers in this puzzle.) As soon as I hit it, the critical Down answers lit up.
India Pale ALE
I think that it might be nice to be able to toggle on or off this type of theme highlighting. On the first three days of the week, it's perfectly harmless, because it simply highlights the answers that you already know are theme entries. Here, it essentially gave away the trick.

So what we have, then, are letters needed to complete the Across answers that have fallen into a HOLE, a DITCH, a GAP, and a PIT. Two of the Down answers span words in the Across, two are contained within a single word. Honestly, I don't mind that at all. The trick works whether it spans words or not.

Loved the start of the puzzle today - 1A: Acrobat displays (PDFS). (Dad, Adobe Acrobat is the program that is used to create PDF files.) That's a lovely clue. Off of that I dropped in ShIP for "Berth place" ("You've a berth on board this very ship!"), but corrected it to SLIP before the buzzer. My error came over in the opposite corner, at the intersection of BOO ("Are you blind, ref?!") (Boo!) and SYOSSET (Long Island community bordering Oyster Bay) (never heard of it). I stared at that blank square for a good two minutes before guessing an A, and it was only after running the vowels that I realized that BOO must be right. That's not really an equivalent clue, in my opinion. Maybe the critique in the clue could be called a "jeer," but I think that a BOO is a BOO. It's not just any criticism. My Webster's backs me up on this, but perhaps an unabridged might have a more general definition of the word. BADRAP? You tell me.

Overall, I enjoy any puzzle with a trick, but I wished it hadn't been revealed, and there were quite a number of concessions (TOOLER, ULTA, ACEH, ENTS, etc.).

- Horace


  1. 10:04
    I don't disagree with you on any of your points, Horace. Better without the highlighting. We would have figured it out, I imagine. Also, the clue for BOO definitely is a bit of a stretch. On the other hand, BOa couldn't possible be correct, so I deduct points from your reasoning for that.

    A lot of not great stuff in this grid. ACEH should be a non-starter.

  2. 17:49
    Across Lite doesn't light anything up, and I figured out the trick without much trouble. I had a slight slowdown when I tried to enter [OLES] as a rebus at the cross of NOCHSTEROL/BASKET (the "S" square) because I thought that it might be a Spanish cheering theme, but once I got the BASKET part of the cross, I abandoned that thinking and took a closer look at 19D. I agree that there's a good deal of nonsense in here, but the theme was pretty nice. Who doesn't love BEERBONGS right next to a SPOTOFTEA?