Thursday, September 3, 2020

Thursday, September 3, 2020, Sid Sivakumar


Ooh, ooh! I do love me a fun Thursday puzzle, and this one is simply brilliant. Our daily readers know how much I abhor a circle in a grid. I don't want to be told so blatantly where the trick is. But today's circles make perfect sense.

The revealer comes at 64A: Recover ... or what 17-, 25-, 38- and 51-Across do? (BOUNCEBACK). It took me quite some time to get the first half of that answer, because I found the center S section to be the toughest of the whole puzzle. But once I did, I suddenly reimagined those circles as balls and watched them speed towards the left side of the puzzle, and then carom backwards towards the right.

And there are your answers! 17A: Fried Hanukkah treat (EKACNAPOTA) is now unfolded to make "potato pancake." Boy, as I filled in the NW corner (very easily with the gimmes ACAI, COCO, and JOKE), that first part of the answer made me second-guess myself. Where were the latkes? Even once I realized that "pancake" was backwards, I couldn't see how to get the potato in place.

I figured it out with ELUSPACE. How cool is that, to find s-p-a-c-e-c-a-p-s in the regular phrase "space capsule?" How about the beauty of NOTGNIHSAWALLAW, a 15-letter answer that NOONE has ever seen before (that's 0% of the population, for those of you counting out there!)? DAERBANA is not quite as amazing, but still, a fun set of answers for a theme that knocks it powerfully out of the park.

NAN Goldin

There's plenty of more fun in the fill. GAYRODEO is a wonderful answer, and one that was definitely inferable from the clue. ALTIMETERS is improved by the nice trivia in the clue.

In the NE, 10D: Made like a shark? (SHOTPOOL) and 11D: One seeking change (PANHANDLER) are a perfect side by side demonstration of the advantages of QMCs and non-QMCs. How about 59A: Bank security option? (LEVEE) - hah! That's great.

Well, I could go on and on, but enough's enough, and that's a WRAP.

- Colum


  1. 18:25
    I totally agree on the necessity of the circles in the grid, and of the brilliance of the puzzle. I don't even mind that there's no rebus because of how fun the trick is. I dropped SHOTPOOL right in because that's the first thought I had since I've been doing a fair amount of that particular activity lately (with my father), and a river bank was also what first came to mind for the LEVEE answer. No real slowdowns for me, but not a stellar time nonetheless. ELUSPACE is my favorite theme answer of the bunch.

  2. Not only is GAYRODEO gettable from the clue, but I've seen that film. So that was kind of fun.

    I was just impressed there were three themers that worked this way. It requires a certain repetition of letters, which is why Walla Walla and our word-play friend the banana just fit right in.