Sunday, April 26, 2020

Sunday, April 26, 2020, Royce Ferguson


Well, folks, here we are again. The weeks go around, and we turn over from one reviewer to another; thus I find myself at the helm of this blog once more. Has anything changed? Do we all feel like we're just on the hamster wheel in this crazy period of world history? Is this too much for a Sunday morning?

Fortunately, as an antidote to too much depressive thinking, the puzzle offers us an invigorating CAR ride. Amusingly, the car itself is hidden in tunnels, all of which take a turn. To be honest, if you imagine the word "car" going across the three black squares of each tunnel, you'd have to imagine a vehicle with a hinge in the middle of it. But this is a silly nit to pick.

Instead, let's focus on the nice work done in finding eight words or phrases which can be split into three words. For example (and near and dear to all of my Fenway friends), 1A: 1969 hit for Neil Diamond (SWEET[CAR]OLINE). The third part of the answer is clued with 23D: QB-protecting group for short (OLINE). I also liked REIN[CAR]NATION and FLYING[CAR]PETS.

It's a little unfortunate that two of the theme answers use "care" in the same sense. But I'll overlook that. It's a fun theme, and I enjoyed figuring out the answers. The bonus of TUNNEL VISION was lovely as well.
In English translation, it's A Void, and it's ELESS

I did not love some of the fill answers. DEIS and RADIOSHACKS are forced plurals that would never occur in real life. RET and PSY are uncommon abbreviations. GAYETY is an archaicism that no editor would STET. And why is ELROY in every other puzzle (it feels like)?

But on the positive side, you have such craziness as BILOXIMS (I've been there but never gambled there) and XLSHIRT. There's the insane crossing of EXPO, XMAN, EXMARINER, and XMASES, all also crossing Santa, who pre-xmas, MAKESALIST.

17A: Risk maker (HASBRO) didn't fool me for a second. The only difficulty was remembering which company makes the board game. A very nice hidden capital.

We'll keep on churning forward.

- Colum

P.S. Congratulations on your debut, Mr. Ferguson!


  1. 45:30
    This took a while for me because I didn't understand the trick until reading Colum's blog about it, but it is quite nicely done now that I see it. I was wondering how a few of the answers fit the clues, like SID for 83D Throwing away, but now I know, and like the puzzle much more for it. I'd normally hear STEREOTYPIC with an "al" at the end, but it is perfectly fine as is, and I'd entered qED instead of ZED at 55A until I checked the down, so fixed that up no problem. I also tried SToIcNESS instead of STAIDNESS, but the crosses helped with that, too. ASSEENONTV looks odd in the grid.

  2. Had a lot of fun with this one. As Colum alludes, the SWEET without the CAR - O-LINE was a tip-off for me, natch. And I also thought the CAR in the center was, well...sweet. :-)

  3. I suspected something around REIN??? . Was wondering if it was hidden flowers ("carnation") or something, and there were other puzzles like "so I know what a metacarpal is but do people just call it a meta?". So eventually seeing the theme (I guess it was on SWEET[CAR]OLINE) was cool, both because I had these revealers I didn't know what to do with, and because there were answers which didn't make sense. And the fact that every three square pattern of black squares was a tunnel was nice.

    Oh and I have to remember to look at the titles on Sunday.