Thursday, October 3, 2019

Thursday, October 3, 2019, Ricky Cruz


Mirror, mirror, on the wall... We get four mirror phrases today, where the mirror is understood because the first word is reflected for the second half of the phrase. Thus 17A: London tabloid that Piers Morgan once headed, which should lead us to "Daily Mirror" instead is entered as DAILYYLIAD.

I found myself a little disappointed at coming across the same trick at 29A. Because once I'd figured out the underlying maneuver, the remainder of the theme answers were straightforward to answer. I also wondered briefly whether the theme would in some way reflect (see what I did there?) the fact that each answer had a pair of Ys in the middle... until I hit 65A: Sci-fi anthology series on Netflix (BLACKKCALB). Ah, well. Once again, I will point out to myself that I'm consuming, not creating.

What we definitely had today was a nice bounceback at 1D: Step on it! (PEDAL). I really love these kinds of clues. 1A: Queen or king, e.g. (PIECE) was also lovely in an ambiguous way. I thought of "royal" first, but since CEL was a gimme at 4D, I reoriented myself quickly.

Other words I enjoyed coming across included RANSACK and BACH. We here at HAFDTNYTCPFCA do like a BRIE (especially at New Year's), and also an ARIA, especially when sung by ALTOS.

In other news, is YIPE really an exclamation? I'm pretty sure I would err on the side of "yipes!" But perhaps I'm just an old fuddy-duddy. Perhaps a bit too much DOT DIT LAS for my tastes, but I liked the theme concept.

- Colum

P.S. It's a debut puzzle! Mr. Cruz, nice work.


  1. 18:17
    Well, once I figured out the theme (with VANITYYTINAV), I was able to "quickly" fill in the other theme answers, once I got half of them, anyway. Nice debut, I agree, and decent trick without too much junk. I needed almost all of the crosses for BIRDSNEST, but just the clue for ONEWAYYAWENO. I don't take a NOCARBS diet, nor, generally, any WELCHS, although when preparing for a colonoscopy, their white grape juice allows for me to have a real party the day before (along with some good organic vegetable broth). RANSACK is nice, and BOY adjacent to SOYA, with the OYs lining up looks good in the middle of the grid.

  2. 10:07

    Amusingly (to me), I figured out the theme with a show I've never seen - BLACKKCALB.

    TMI on the colonoscopy menu, Huygens, but I will try to remember that white grape juice for the next time. Also, in keeping with the OY theme, check out the Os in OREO and the Ys just above!

    I liked this one.