Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Tuesday, December 24, 2019, Alex Eaton-Salners


I’d like to blame my unsightly time for a Tuesday on the fact that I’m solving for the first time on a keyboard enabled iPad. I’d like to, mind you, if it weren’t for the fact that it’s not entirely true. But what is truth these days? An inconvenience, a barrier to getting the thing that you most want. Which apparently for me, at least today, is an excuse for taking a little longer than usual to solve an early week NYT crossword puzzle. It’s not worth the effort.

In any case, this puzzle succeeds in elevating the standard theme concept of four seemingly unrelated phrases connected by an unexpected revealer, through the clever split revealer of BARBERSHOP/ QUARTET. Here, we’re asked not just to reevaluate the long entries like BUMPERCROP and COLDCUT to note that the last word in each describe a hair cutting process. In addition, we have to reevaluate our usual understanding of a singing group of four men in close harmony to a collection of four barbershop related words. Very nice!

Because there are six theme answers, there is a lot of careful black square placement, such that no down answer passes through more than two of the theme elements. Nonetheless, Mr. Eaton-Salners fit in INMEMORIAM and HALLEBERRY, as well as FIDDLED. The isolation of the corners means that some of the nicest work is in the mid length across answers. I particularly liked MOLIERE, STARMAN, and SIXPACK.

Nothing much to write home about in terms of clever clueing. I could do without UNWEAVE, but really this is a pretty darned good Tuesday puzzle.

- Colum


  1. 4:02
    I can agree that familiarity with the solving equipment can make a big difference, but still, in the spirit of the holidays and all that, I will still end this long sentence by saying... HEEHAW!

    UHYES, that was puerile. Sorry.

    I didn't particularly like AREOLAR, but there was something fun about seeing the simple word THE in the grid. I know it's not clued as a definite article, but still...

    Fun theme. Fine Tuesday. Merry Christmas Eve to all celebrants. :)

  2. I did like THE. Took a bit of running through different languages (chai, té, tea, etc) but I eventually got there.

    TOQUE was also fun because the object was very familiar to me before I knew it had a name.

  3. 7:33
    At least AREOLAR is cleanly clued, but UHYES, we could've done without it. Decent theme, especially for a Tuesday, and for me, somewhat of a normal time, although they've been slightly faster. THE was unknown to me, as is this STIEG fellow, but I EKEDBY with the rest. Always nice to see the full HALLEBERRY.