Thursday, August 6, 2020

Thursday, August 6, 2020, Derek Allen and Jeff Chen


A nice workout for the little gray cells today, n'est-ce pas mes chers amis? Today's puzzle contains four rebus squares in which [BLACK] and [WHITE] combine to create a GRAY AREA. For example, 67A: "Many a country road" is [BLACK]TOP and 52D: "'Grimms' Fairy Tales' heroine" is SNOW[WHITE]. In the app I use to solve the puzzle, entering [GRAY] in the shared square resulted in a successful solve. It was a nice even mix, too, with black and white alternating in the across and downs throughout the grid. 
While I caught on to the rebus squares right away with the EGG[WHITE] / [BLACK]HOLE combination in the northeast, I was duped at first by the very next clue, "One with a title." I tried 'baron' at first, which looked okay with MART above, but it was another kind of title and the answer was OWNER - very nice in deed.  "Run for it!" at 5A: also had me going for a while. I didn't figure out that it was that type of clue, whatever that type of clue is called, until I got the answer (SEAT) from the downs. 

In other gray matter matters, I learned that BLINDPIG is an alternative name for a speakeasy. I also read about the origins of the speakeasy and the term 'blind pig' in the Wikipedia. Stimulating! I also discovered that one can use TREPID without the prefix 'in.' Who knew? And the clue about THERMOS losing its trademark status in 1963 was interesting, too. 

All that erudition and a sense of humor, too? YEAS! "DC reporter" (LOISLANE) is really good. I very much enjoyed "Sole proprietorship?" (SHOESHOP), "What a foul mouth is full of" (SILT), and "Starter course?" (PLANA), but my favorite today was "Air apparent?" (SMOG). Ha!

Also, FILCH deserves honorable mention as fun fill. :) 



  1. 24:57
    My time would have been shorter, but I decided to go one way with the rebus squares as that is sometimes acceptable, so I went with [WHITE] in the rebus squares, even knowing the revealer (GRAY/AREA) and having it make sense to me because I knew that the crosses were all [BLACK], thereby making gray. I figured it was just a choice, but alas, no. For after not getting the happy pencil congratulating me, I changed all of the [WHITE]s to [BLACK]s, but that didn't work either. Then I hit upon the other, other operation, in which I changed all of the rebus squares to [GRAY]. This, for me, was the turning point. The SEAT/SILT cross was my final entry because both clues were pretty tricky. And like Frannie, I learned something with BLINDPIG. Also, I wanted fishSHOP instead of SHOESHOP, but fixed it up quickly with the crosses. On another note, I'm reading a fairly new book right now called "Tombstone" by Tom Clavin in which the EARPs play a large role. FILCH is, indeed, fun fill, as is the reminder of Gene SHALIT, once regularly seen on the TV, but not so much now that he's 94.

  2. 10:47

    That's funny, I did the same thing as Huygens and put [WHITE] into all the gray squares, and for me, solving online, it worked. I did, however, enjoy the extended Piranha Brothers reference.

    I agree that this was a fun one. And I, too, was surprised by BLINDPIG. I wonder where that came from?

    Shalit lives?