Thursday, December 26, 2019

Thursday, December 26, 2019, Trenton Charlson

9:07 (FWOE)

You have to know your BOWLING lingo and iconography today in order to interpret the three theme answers. For those who are ten-pin challenged, / is the symbol for “spare” (i.e., when it takes two balls to knock down all ten pins); X is the symbol for “strike” (i.e., when you knock down all ten pins with one ball); and XXX is a “turkey,” or three strikes in a row.

Armed with this knowledge, the long answers should make sense. I got it (finally!) when I filled in the revealer, and looked back to see ______HESTRAW, and knew it had to be XXXINTHESTRAW. That’s nice, as is the grid spanning XTHERIGHTBALANCE. Those two answers fixed 4 Xs in the grid. In order to get the / in, Mr. Charlson turns to the classic heavy metal band AC/DC, and the excellent /METHEDETAILS. Very nice!
I didn’t know she was Beetle Bailey’s sister!
I rolled a gutter ball with the NE corner. I saw the clue 10A: Average name, and put in jOe at first. Later, when I got 10D: Place for cold cuts (DELICOUNTER - I was kind of expecting more of a twist in this answer), I now had DOe, which still seemed plausible from a legal name perspective. Instead, it was the really nice answer DOW (with a hidden capital in the clue). But I never looked at the cross to see that WAYS was obviously better than eAYS.

Getting ORTHODOXJEW in the puzzle is the equivalent of a converting a one-ten split for Mr. Charlson. That’s outstanding fill. I also enjoyed RIVERSEINE and 31D: Magellan, e.g. (SPACEPROBE). I am less enthused by such entries as SKEG, ISBN, AGER, ENGR, and ETALII, but I’m sure the craziness of the theme necessitated such compromises.

A fun beginning to the turn. Looking forward to our themelesses tomorrow and Saturday!

- Colum


  1. I grew up in Detroit, where bowling is practically mandatory entertainments, so this puzzle was fun for me, once I got the gimmick. Beautiful fill, too!

  2. 16:55 (FWOE)
    Unfortunately, I made a very poor guess at 57D, where I entered aERO, and so had XaXINTHESTRAW for the across. I'd never heard of a "turkey" even though I bowl somewhat regularly. Since I play the candlepin variety of bowling, there is never a danger of getting three strikes in a row. That said, I should have, nonetheless, entered an "x" there just because of the surroundings, but didn't. Beatle Bailey occasionally shows up at Hi and Lois's house, especially around the holidays, so that relationship is well-known to those of us who are regular comics readers.