Thursday, April 9, 2020

Thursday, April 9, 2020, Alex Eaton-Salners


On day 295 of quarantine...

Okay, I know that's an exaggeration, but it surely feels like it.

As it wears longer and longer, little things can take on huge significance. Like if for example a carton of blueberries and a carton of raspberries falls out of the refrigerator and spills all over the ground? That's a fruit salad gone to waste, and who's even going to get to the supermarket to replace them? Who, I ask you? WHO?!

Once again, the crossword puzzle has the opportunity to TEACH us some peace and relaxation, and maybe inject some OPTIMISM back into our daily lives. Today's grid tricks us using MORSECODE, by substituting the letters T and E in the clues with - and . respectively. The resulting clue now looks like something else reasonably found in clues. For example, 25A: Big nos. (SCHNOZZOLA) is not asking about abbreviated trillions, but instead "Big nose."

That was the first theme answer I filled in, but I didn't exactly get what was going on. I worked my way down the east side of the puzzle until the revealer became clear, and then I looked back and got it. I really love 49A: Mil. post, say (ROADMARKER). You might think that was an abbreviation for "military," but no: it's "mile." Nicely done.
Good clues today include:

1D: Made some calls (UMPIRED) - an excellent non-QMC.
13D: Log splitter (AXHEAD) - I'd wondered if that was going to refer to a person who snores, perhaps influenced by SLEEPLAB.
30D: Talking point (PODIUM) - this reminds me of a clue that Frannie called out last week.

LIFEHACK is a great answer, as is MRTOAD. A very pleasant Thursday, and a nice start to The Turn.

- Colum


  1. 8:32

    OMG If you didn't have a dog I'd have you send me those blueberries and raspberries! If they fell on our floor, I'd just wash them and eat them - or put them in a pie if I was really worried - but with the dog feet issue, well... sayonara berries.

    In re puzzle, why just E and T? I found that a little strange. SCHNOZZOLA was my first themer too, and I thought it might be some kind of pronunciation thing... but then the revealer straightened things out.

    NAUTILI was quite unusual.

  2. 18:08
    I wholeheartedly agree with Horace on the berries. I was thinking, "Why doesn't Colum just wash them again?" But the whole dog feet thing is a nonstarter for me. There, I've MADEACHOICE. This was a fine idea for a theme, and a decent Thursday solve resulted. I take a PLUOT on occasion, though I don't see in that hybrid a big advantage over a more reasonably priced plum when they're nice. And I, for one, was quite happy to witness the demise of the DISCOERA, may it never return.

  3. I got the revealer first, and was wondering, wait, am I going to have to know what .-. is or the like? Turns out I just had to know or guess e and t (closer to "guess" but I did remember that the most common letters get the shortest codes). Which is presumably why they didn't try to pull something like "" cluing "octagonal sign" (or whatever has the right number of letters to be clued by "stop').