Thursday, October 31, 2019

Thursday, October 31, 2019, Ezra Brauner and Jeff Chen


The theme today is double letters that turn into ghosts for Halloween! Double letters appear six times in Across answers (and, taken together, spell the word "clones"), but when solving the Down answers, those letters must be ignored for the entry to work with the clues. The Down answers are, then, DOUBLEBLIND. What makes this theme work for me is the fact that the Down answers would also work just fine with different clues if the double letters had been included. I especially like seeing the gods ARES and MARS appear together over on the right side.

DEVON county

Frannie and I saw a talk on quantum mechanics last week, and just yesterday there was an article in the Harvard Gazette discussing Google's recent quantum computing success, and now the double letters in this puzzle could be seen as quantum particles, which are both there and not there at the same time. Until you look at them, that is. Or, until they are clued. It is then that they become DISCRETE.

In the non-quantum fill we find such solid answers as DERISION (Mockery), UPSIDE (Good potential), CHALICES (Ceremonial goblets), AMALGAMS (Mélanges), and SAUNA (Hot spot). Mmmm.... SAUNA. RIDESAWAY (Goes off into the sunset, say) seems a bit... oh, I don't know, forced? But really, it's a movie thing, so I'll allow it.

I liked the clue for TRANCE (You're out of it if you're in it), "Train to a plane" was cute for TRAM, and "Is for two?" for ARE is classic! And finally, I like how MACARONS and MACAROONS are both small edible treats. I am more interested in the spelling similarity than I am in eating either one, but that's fine, because this is a crossword blog, not a food blog.

- Horace


  1. 7:42
    Also note that there are no double letters in the puzzle outside of the ones which are both there and not there.

    1. Oooh! I meant to mention that, but got carried away with my quantum topic. Or should I say, I both mentioned it and didn't mention it, but when you read the review, you saw the "I didn't mention it" state. ...

  2. Oh for sure, that "train to the plane" clue had me going direct to YouTube to (re)watch the 1970s commercials for same.

    I made it through this puzzle in 13:22, which is super fast for me on a Thursday. But it was enjoyable and presented enough obstacles (e.g. the theme) that I felt like I was still getting a workout.

  3. 18:47
    HOOTENANNIES is fantastic. Horace is anti-MACAROONS (and MACARONS)? I'm pretty sure I'd take either now-and-again. Yes, the ARES/MARS pair is great, and everyone loves quantum mechanics. I first read about it in my early teens in Nigel Calder's "Einstein's Universe" and Fred Wolf's "Taking the Quantum Leap."