Monday, December 23, 2019

Monday, December 23, 2019, Timothy Polin

3:23 (FWOE)

I must have had my head turned around by so many spinning tops in this puzzle, because I mistyped DELHI with a U at the end. Now, typically, I don't count a typo on the iPad as an error, because if I were solving with a pencil, the typo wouldn't have happened. Or if I were solving with a normal keyboard (coming soon to my iPad!), I wouldn't make that mistake. But I looked at SLEDRuDE and said to myself, something seems wrong there, said I to myself, said I. But did I investigate further? Nope. So that's an error.

Meanwhile, Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate it! We lit the candles last night in our typical lapsed Reform Judaism household. We sing the blessings, but none of us could actually say exactly what the Hebrew meant. In any case, I used to SPINTHEDREIDEL with some families in my youth. All for those sweet sweet chocolate coins.

Mr. Polin has interpreted the phrase literally, and found four other phrases wherein the letters of "dreidel" are scrambled in this 14 x 15 grid. Nicely, in all four examples, the hidden scramble leaps across words. I like the find of REDDELICIOUS the best. MIDDLERELIEVER is fine, and SLEDRIDE is impressive (and timely!). I don't think I've ever had a call to use a HIGHSPEEDDRILL, but I believe they exist, which is all that really matters.

Impressive to mix 3 Xs into the fill, and none of them feel forced at all. In addition, we get TOPTENHIT and OLDSCORES, which are happy extras. And finally, any time ELROND gets a nod, we've done well.
The elf himself

- Colum


  1. 5:33
    I've never used a dreidel, but sussed the trick quickly (one needs to be ready for such things at this time of the year). The circled squares helped. I enjoyed the clue for CFOS (38A Bu$ine$$ execs); I hadn't seen that type of thing previously. Kind of a long clue for EUROPA, though. I couldn't have come up with ELROND without the crosses.

  2. 3:22 (FWOE)
    So here's a question for you, Colum: The very last letter I put in was - or should have been - the second S in SESTET, but when I scanned the clue, I saw "Six-line" and hit an x. I realized immediately that the down couldn't end with that, so I immediately canceled out of the "Almost" screen and corrected it, but the damage was done, at least in the digital world.

    I've often thought that a nice option would be to have a button that said "Finished" that you had to click when you were satisfied that you had done it correctly. It would more accurately replicate the experience of raising your hand at a crossword puzzle tournament. Short of that, the only option is to leave one square un-filled, but then that makes it impossible to tab through the puzzle clue by clue.

    Ah well.

    Anyway, I liked the theme, which I only thought about after all of that FWOE/notFWOE drama. I believe I've spun dreidels (I grew up with many friends who had them), but I never got any chocolate coins for it!

  3. I was overthinking this (after getting the revealer, but before finishing the puzzle) by thinking the circled squares were names of the four sides of a dreidel. But it was even simpler. As I figured out after finishing the solve.