Friday, July 24, 2020

Friday, July 24, 2020, Grant Thackray


When I opened the puzzle today, I was amazed by the grid shape; amazed, but also worried. It is very striking, with the two big sideways Ts and the large swaths of white squares. But then the way it's set up sets up the solve as multiple mini-puzzles, with the middle square sectioned off so that only one square connects it with the NW and SE.

Speaking of which, did you notice that the middle square is a perfect 5 x 5 minipuzzle? If you lopped off the beginnings of 15D and 23A, and the ends of 42A and 29D, you'd still have perfectly good 5-letter words in all directions. Pretty cool.

And in fact, I did not find myself having to start all over again: the puzzle flowed nicely. I don't think I've ever seen a grid where almost every longer entry is a fun answer. Starting with 14A: Character of Apple products (LOWERCASEI). I had the ending of that answer first, and was very confused. But that's a lovely reinterpretation of the word "character" to refer to the letter.

BOSSBATTLE is colorful, as is GOINGVIRAL. I also liked the SE triple stack, with HALFNELSON, TRUETOLIFE, and MICROFILMS. Remember those?

12D: Trying to untie? (INOVERTIME) is a perfect example of a good QMC. And it's fun to see STEAMBOATWILLIE in the puzzle.

Sure, all those fun long answers necessitate a pretty large amount of less exciting shorter fare. I will point out ISAT, ATRI, INI, OFME, and MRE.

But on the whole, it's a fine middle of the turn puzzle. Tomorrow completes it!

- Colum


  1. 10:33

    I dropped in SHALE and STEAMBOATWILLIE off the clues, and by the end I thought I had logged a pretty good Friday time until I came here. Nice time, Colum!

    And nice observation about that central square, too. I hadn't noticed that it could stand on its own - "Magic Square-like" - if you lopped off the edges. I've got to believe that Mr. Thackray was aware of that.

    So far so good on the ol' Turn.

  2. 14:52
    Like Horace, I thought my Friday time was pretty respectable, too, but alas. I needed all of the crosses for BOSSBATTLE, tried SlAtE where SHALE belongs, and entered fuLlNELSON in the SE. Interesting that BALI crosses BAIL. That is a great observation about the middle 5X5.