Sunday, July 26, 2020

Sunday, July 26, 2020, Trenton Charlson


Again, the title is perfect. At first, I didn't get it, because SQUARECHIN (Facial feature of a Lego man?) is an actual thing. I mean, it's also amusing to say that a Lego man has a square chin, because he is made out of blocks! (We'll ignore the fact that their heads are actually rounded.) Anyway, then came HOSTINTHEDARK (Emcee during a power outage?), and I was suddenly in the dark myself. "Why is that especially funny?" I wondered.

Then it hit me - the title isn't talking about something ready-made, it's explaining that one word in each theme answer - each, a common expression - was forced into alphabetical order, and then, as is the custom, the resulting expression was clued wackily. Very nice.

So just to belabor this, BEGINWATCHING (What you might do after the movie previews are finally over?) comes from "binge watching," and BELOWMACARONI (Where spaghetti and orzo rank in terms of their suitability for making necklaces?) (this is my favorite of the wacky clues) is a transformation of "elbow macaroni." Colum, earlier this past week, alluded to the unusual mind of a crossword constructor, and this puzzle is further evidence. Mr. Collins is a seasoned veteran, but young Mr. Charlson is carrying on the tradition nobly.

Also, if you haven't looked over at yet, Will Shortz notes that "Trenton's Twitter page declares that he's the founder of Z.J.X.Q. - Americans Against Accurate Acronyms." To which the reviewer Jim Horne responded "Let's all hope he doesn't run afoul of the A.A.A.A.A.A.A. - the American Association Against Acronym and Abbreviation Abuse." If that doesn't win you over, then I have no idea what you're doing here.

So ok, amusing, unusual theme, well done. What else? Well, lots, really. I laughed out loud at NIX (Word often spoken in pig Latin). So true! And we've got a couple paired clues with different answers: "Give in" for ACQUIESCE and ACCEDE - both strong entries, and "Take in" and "Took in" for SEE and ATE. And then there's little things like "Where a herd might be heard" for LEA, the interesting cluing of old crossword favorites like ETNA (Site of the Bocca Nuova crater) and ESAU (Hariy hunter of Genesis), the interesting trivia in "Fish whose name means "very strong" in Hawaiian," and the clever "Making a clerical error?" for SINNING. Overall, I liked this one a lot.

- Horace


  1. 25:48
    I zipped right through this, although I tried mars out where ETNA belongs, which slowed me down a bit. I really enjoyed the theme, too, and the puzzle in general, even if I sometimes like a Sunday to last a little longer. I'd never heard of this political columnist Molly IVINS, but the crosses were fair. Nice that ETNA is above ASTI.