Thursday, February 6, 2020

Thursday, February 6, 2020, Jake Halperin


We often talk about The Turn here at HAFDTNYTCPFCFA. The definition of these terms is in the Glossary to your right, but simply put, the last three 15 x 15 puzzles of the week. It's what I most look forward to in my puzzle solving week, and today's is no exception to the rule. In fact, it might be my favorite theme in a very very long time. It took me a while to figure out Mr. Halperin's ingenious trick, but once I did, I couldn't stop chuckling.

In fact, it was the lowest theme answer that I got first, at 54A: Cows' various glands? (UDDERSANDOTHERS). Dang, I'm laughing out loud right now, looking at that piece of ludicrous flimflam. Beautiful. Each one is a piece of art. 47A: Things that scouts earn badges for? (KNOTSANDWHATNOT) was my least favorite at first, but now I'm finding myself deeply amused.

And how about ALIETALII? Or even better, SETTERSETCETERA...

So hats off, everybody. You'll rarely see a theme so fabulously carried out, especially with four 15-letter answers.

Now, as you might imagine, there is a definite tradeoff. I'm looking at you, VERANDAED. When I had the last four letters in place, I took them out, questioning what I was doing. Others issues include any time a constructor needs to use a _BEAM as an answer, in this case TBEAM. "AWK-ward!" said the Parrot.

I wanted liABLE instead of SUABLE, which is a "huh?" word.

But in other high notes, there are some fun clues. I liked 2D: Fool's gold? (FAKETAN), and 63A: Where the batter eventually goes to the plate? (IHOP). Also, EDEN and XANADUS is a nice pair, although I will point out that it is odd to think of more than once Xanadu.

- Colum


  1. 14:44
    I wholeheartedly agree with Colum on the brilliance of this theme, on the plural XANADUS, on VERANDAED and on SUABLE (where I tried liABLE at first, also). I also entered, with great confidence, iBEAM, but once I figured out the theme I changed it to the rarely-seen TBEAM. That picture is one of the worst Spock-attempts I've ever seen. GEEKs? I think not. OAKTREE is kickin' it old school. I believe the referenced song was a hit either concurrently or immediately preceding the Tony Orlando & Dawn variety show, which our family watched religiously (my mother "enjoyed" Mr. Orlando).

  2. Great crossword, especially for a Thursday! Thursday crosswords usually trip me up. Rare is the day that I completely solve one. I usually have better results with Friday crosswords. (Weekend puzzles are too tough for me.) I liked today's theme, and the lack of a rebus was a welcome relief for me. Some people like them, which is OK. My preference is for crosswords without: rebuses, a plethora of "popular" culture references, and irregular grids. Favorite clue: 21Across. I like dogs.


  3. 10:31
    Yeah, this was a riot. I think my favorite is probably the Latin, but they're all excellent. VERANDAED is a bitter pill, but the sugar is very sweet.