Thursday, March 26, 2020

Thursday, March 26, 2020, Alex Eaton-Salners

0:11:33 (F.W.O.E.)

Is Mercury in retrograde? No, not right now. It was earlier this month... but it sure seemed like something was, because I kept looking back to previous CLUES to see if I really did just see "Mercury" mentioned a couple clues back. Turns out I did. Mercury is paired with five other, different members of our solar system, and each time, the answer is in a new category.

Mercury or Sun, e.g. - WNBATEAM
Mercury or Venus, e.g. - ROMANGOD
Mercury or Earth, e.g. - INNERPLANET
Mercury or Mars, e.g. - MUSICIAN (Freddie and Bruno)
Mercury or Saturn, e.g. - AUTOMAKE (both now defunct)

Not a bad set, but only barely Thursday-esque.

EYE of Providence
"Approved undertakings" "A new order of the ages"

I said OHNO to a few answers, like SOAKAGE (Liquid absorbed by surrounding soil), FIERO (Sporty 1980s Pontiac) (Remember those? No?...), and OPIUMS (Poppy products), but one must ACCEDE to such inclusions from time to time. Especially when they allow for more interesting fill like ASTARTE (Bronze Age fertility deity), OCELOTS (Striped and spotted felines) (This was my favorite animal in grammar school), and SABERS (They go into battle at the sides of cavalrymen). That last one is fun, and it didn't exactly trick me, but I did enter SwordS at first, which slowed that NW corner down a bit.

My FWOEment came at the intersection of ANYA (Novelist Seton) and ADVERT. I had entered ANne originally for the author, thinking, I suppose, of Anne Sexton, and I eventually changed NnE to NYE ("Bill ____ Saves the World"), but I never looked back at that E. Tant pis.

Not one out of the GILDED Age of puzzles, perhaps, but a decent enough start to the Turn.

- Horace


  1. 7:25 FWOE
    Very similar error to yours. I wanted ANne, then switched the e to the A, leaving ANnA. I had had NYE in place earlier but removed it because of ANne. Sigh. I agree this is not the best Thursday in the history of the NYT, but beggars can't be choosers.

  2. 27:06
    Well, much longer time than either of you two above, but no errors! That NW corner took most of the time to finish. I tried cIERO, SwordS, had ____TEAM for awhile, and just couldn't make heads nor tails of it, but once I figured out TOPGUN (duh!), after trying shoGUN (the real story of the Japanese, starring Richard Chamberlain), it started to slowly fall into place. I have been quite enjoying the science that we (humans) have been enjoying from the recent Mercury flybys, so this was OK, but yeah, not the best Thursday. I, unlike Horace, found no enjoyment in ASTARTE, which for me required all of the crosses and will not be remembered. Glad to see HOUDINI and the nice usage of STEELS in the puzzle, as well as TRUEGRIT, although the John Wayne version was not nearly as good as the newer one, IMO.

  3. Oh, and change that heading to "Thursday."

    1. Thanks. I've done that now. It's been a little hard to remember what day of the week it is during this strange period of "working remotely."

  4. I liked the clue for ELNINO. When I saw "current event" I was like ha, you can't fool me, I see through your misdirection, this is clearly about electrical current. Heh. Didn't think of ocean current until after I got most of the answer from crosses.