Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Wednesday, November 20, 2019, Erik Agard


Today's theme celebrates the much-debated crossword-grid-circles by forcing their inclusion, for without them, the revealer, TALKINCIRCLES would make no sense. The circles, as you have seen, create out of longer entries six words that are talk-related: chat, blather, speak, orate, prate, and spiel. That last one is commonly seen in the wild as a noun, but rumor (and dictionaries) have it that it can also be used as a verb, so all's well on the consistency front. And speaking of consistency, is it coincidence that each of the hidden words comes from the beginning and end of its container word, with nothing else from the middle? Probably not, but still I find it strange. And kind of cool.

Without the circles, and with only the first half of the revealer (Argue repetitively ... with a hint to this puzzle's theme), one might well have solved this thinking it was just another themeless. Would that same one have noticed the copied letters "rate" at the ends of 46- and 51-Across, and then further noticed the O and P at the beginning? I'm guessing probably not.

Taken as a themeless, it's full of interesting answers. BLACKPANTHER reminds me of a poem:

The panther is like a leopard,
Except it hasn't been peppered.
Should you behold a panther crouch,
Prepare to say Ouch.
Better yet, if called by a panther,
Don't anther.

My father is a big fan of Nash, and that last line was famous in our house when I was young. Let's do one more for SPINYEEL, shall we?

I don't mind eels
Except as meals.
And the way they feels.

OK, that's a lot of poetry. I'll just mention a few more things:

ORCHESTRATE is fun, EMPANADA is delicious, and PLASTICCRATE is odd, but not as odd as COMOESTA (Spanish greeting). I know it's two words, but if you don't know that, it looks very strange.

I've never heard the abbreviation OPDOC (Nonfiction film with a point of view, in brief) before, but that doesn't mean it's not mainstream.

Thumbs up from this corner.

- Horace


  1. 9:25
    Sure, this was a fine one. After realizing what was going on (fairly early on), the filling in of the other circled letters, as well as the associated answers, was pretty easy. Nice to see LOGAN in the grid, although we generally don't use it, preferring either BDL or PVD given comparable pricing and taking parking rates into consideration. I've not seen BLACKPANTHER as yet, but will when it's available for streaming. A fan of Zs, the ZESTS/ZIGZAG cross is nice in the NE, but the ACT/ACCT cross in the NW is not so great. All-in-all, I'll CEDETO Horace's thumbs up for this one.

  2. 6:05 (FWTE)
    I spelled NOOB as NewB. Don't know what I was thinking. And Horace, you can never have too much Ogden Nash.