Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thursday, November 28, 2019, Timothy Polin


OJAI everyone. Let's talk turkey about today's puzzle because that's what I'm full of. Well, that and pie. Lots of pie. Mmmm, pie...

The puzzle's theme features JOHNNYCASH (17A "The Man in Black") and its trick is conveyed by the title of his hit song, RINGOFFIRE (17-Across hit ... or a hint to four connected answers in this puzzle). Four entries form a square in the center of the puzzle, each of which needs the word "fire" to complete it so that it matches its clue. Thus, "Candies that make your mouth burn" are [Fire]BALLS, "Big name in tires is [Fire]STONE, "Performance with twirling torches" is [Fire]DANCE, and my favorite, "Agitator seeking radical change" is [Fire]BRAND. JOAQUIN PHOENIX, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role as Johnny Cash, also plays a part in the theme. 

The one connection I can tenuously establish between today's puzzle and today's holiday (Thanksgiving) is that one uses a RINGOFFIRE to cook many of the day's signature dishes. I myself used one to boil potatoes earlier in the day. Mmmm, potatoes...

Perhaps because I have food on the brain, and elsewhere, I noticed a number of victuals in the grid including STEW, SOY, ZITI, ICEWINE, OFFAL, CRAB, and ONAROLL. Mmmm, rolls...
Here's hoping a controlled ring of fire helped EWES and yours enjoy good food and good company at LACASA today. Also, on this holiday, I think it only right that we offer a SHO of appreciation to all the puzzle constructors and editors out there who always give USS somethin' ALIKE. Thanks!



  1. 13:21
    We recently visited the JOHNNYCASH museum in Nashville, which was entertaining enough. Nice that Mr. Polin could fit in the whole JOAQUIN/PHOENIX even with the Q and X in there. I may disagree with Frannie on her inclusion of OFFAL as food, but I'll take a ZITI or ICEWINE at any time. My only slowdown happened when I tried to use a rebus at square 27 ([FIREB]), which worked for the across and down, but then the rebus did not work at square 28 since "fireballfires" is not a thing, or at square 47, which would have yielded "firebrandfired" for the down. I therefore abandoned that line of thinking, just entering the words without the "fire" attached and realized what was happening once I hit the revealer.

  2. 8:54
    Nice review, Frances! And I second the SHO out to the crossword folks!

  3. 8:04
    Nice review indeed. I happened to glance over at Rex Parker's blog site today, and was immediately turned off by the first paragraph. If he dislikes the NYT so much, why is he still blogging it?