Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Tuesday, June 9, 2020, Freddie Cheng


I don't want anyone to take what I'm about to say as a complaint, because it certainly isn't. But today's puzzle felt like a Wednesday puzzle masquerading as a Tuesday offering. After solving the NYT crossword daily for so many years, you get a feeling for each day's character. Leave out the challenge of the grid today (about 20% longer to solve than most Tuesdays), the odd nature of the theme feels like that grab bag of oddities, Wednesday.

Meanwhile, let's just acknowledge how ludicrous the theme is. The revealer comes at 31D: Popular kids' game ... or a hint to 18-, 32-, 37- and 58-Across (GOFISH). What a strange place for the revealer! Maybe it's a kind of grid art, with the 15-letter theme answer acting as the fishing line, and the revealer showing up as the fish dangling from it?

By the way, I knew I used to play Go Fish as a child. It lost its interest pretty quickly though. Crazy Eights was more popular for me. Hated War, and wasn't really a fan of Old Maid either. Thoughts?

But what makes the theme silly is the fact that these four somewhat standard phrases turn into a story about going fishing, Huck Finn style. Although I think you'd probably attach the line and hook to the stick before opening the proverbial can of worms.

Other oddities abound in the grid. The British SCEPTRE; FOTO, a term no one uses outside of brand names; and JOVI BON, the famous upside down New Jersey rock star.

And has anyone ever heard the White House Correspondents' dinner called a NERDPROM? Apparently it has been for over a decade, but this solver had never heard of it.

I'm pretty sure my daughters would agree that a BRO is pretty much a small BURRO (ass).

Still, I enjoyed it over all. I'm done.

- Colum


  1. 9:53
    I, too, thought this played a little more difficult than the average Wednesday, and it's too bad that the stick, worms, line and hook weren't more in-line, so-to-speak, with the fish at the end. But we did start out with COSMOS at 1A, albeit not clued with Dr. Sagan, unfortunately, but it still brings that masterpiece to mind. For this reason, the puzzle gets THREE thumbs-up from this GEEK. I enjoyed GOFISH (and War, for that matter) because I played both for money with my Italian grandmother quite often after my grandfather died when I was a tyke. The games themselves were not particularly interesting, but the time with her made them very enjoyable. I've never been to a MILKBAR, but I guess they must exist somewhere. I enjoyed spelling out SUBPOENA and seeing some other nice answers like ANAKIN (instead of "Ani"), ARCADIA (which I visit from time to time in FL), ORVILLE, FROGKICK, DORAG, PERTH and OHHEY. Not too many UGLY answers that made me go OOF.

  2. I really liked this theme. Not that I'm going to argue with "ludicrous", just that I don't necessarily mind ludicrous.

    And I love the image of JOVI BON suspended by the ankles above a stage performing a concert. A whole lot more colorful than what I would have written about the effort of following croas references or some such practical question.

  3. 7:21
    I, too, enjoyed this theme, as I, too, am onboard with the ludicrous. Speaking of, we watched the first episode of "At Last, the 1948 Show" last night, and I think it would appeal to most Monty Python fans. We saw it through BritBox, but it might be available elsewhere.

    Nice BRO/BURRO association. I'm going to remember that one.

    And yeah, harder than a usual Tuesday for me, too. But worth it!