Sunday, December 8, 2019

Sunday, December 8, 2019, Emily Carroll


Greetings, Dear Readers! Horace here, taking the reins from Colum, who last week was all about gratitude. I will start my ride by announcing that I am grateful for two good friends who agreed join me on this cruciverbalist peregrination, without quite knowing where we were headed or even why we mounted old Rocinante in the first place. It seems an impossible dream, but we're coming up on seven years now, and I'm still having as much fun as ever. Possibly more.


One of the things that I still find very interesting as we roam the NYTX wordscape is getting to know the individual constructors. Some we have actually met and spoken with in person at the ACPT, others, like Ms. Carroll, we have so far only admired through her work. One of her puzzles ran on Tuesday during my last reviewing stint, and here I am talking about her again.

The whole raison d'ĂȘtre today is the occurrence of double Is in theme material. Quite the opposite, in two ways really, of going EASYONTHEEYES. For one thing, she didn't, and for another thing, the double Is together look quite odd. Take BOYZIIMEN (Top musical group of the 1990s, per Billboard) - which I'm sure will give my father trouble - that OYZII combination is outrageous. And the LIINDO in BALIINDONESIA no es muy lindo. Well, actually, it kind of is. We are ones who delight in all manifestations of the Terpsichorean muse! Er... crossword muse...

Where was I? I.. I... Right! The Is! I suppose I am profession-bound to mention JACOBRIIS (New York social reformer whose name is on a Manhattan housing project). Not a stranger to the crossword grid but usually only represented by his last name, his book "How the Other Half Lives" shined a light (literally - as he was one of the first photographers to use a flash) on the untenable conditions in New York City's tenements.

So the theme was interesting, at the very least. Also interesting were the many Zs!* But there were several entries that I thought were a bit more inelegant than I am used to seeing from Ms. Carroll. AKINETIC (Unable to move well) required a stretch, and ETHENES was a DOOZIE, as TWERE. I don't know what OLY (West Coast brew, for short) stands for, and SERS (Knights' titles in "A Game of Thrones") crossing OJIBWAS gave me my one error today (I guessed an H). Still - clues like "State of disbelief" (ATHEISM) and "Part of a short race" (GNOMES) - both excellent - got hearty LOLZ.

Overall, not AMAZIN, but not bad.

Now it's on to tomorrow to tilt at another one!

- Horace

* One reason there are so many Zs is because there is another layer to the theme that I totally missed! "EZ" sits atop the Is in every theme answer! Wow. Thanks, Amy Reynaldo! That just changed my opinion of this effort. The rough stuff is still rough stuff, but the justification for it is stronger than I realized. MYB! - HF


  1. 34:50
    Prior to knowing the theme, which is pretty good for a Sunday, I entered BOYZtoMEN, but since DEtTY is not a thing and there is no such place as UFFIZo, I quickly changed it to the correct form. I also put in JACOBRosS at first, but the AMAZIN Mets (I knew it wasn't AMAZsN) saved me there. I'm fine with AKINETIC, and I'm with Horace not knowing what OLY is. Oh, I also tried Kinder where KLEINE belongs, but the crosses did their job for me in that case, too. I enjoyed seeing the full BALIINDONESIA in there.

  2. It's a remarkable concept for the theme, carried out quite well. I too do not understand the OLY, and not understanding 83A: United way? (PLANE) until after I finished the puzzle, that cross was a guess, which I fortunately guessed correctly. Maybe OVEREXPOSE is a reference to JACOBRIIS as well?