Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Wednesday, September 23, 2020, Margit Christenson


In reviewing yesterday's review, I see that I might have been a wee bit depressing. A reviewer should review one's reviews, for quality purposes, I suggest. And so a course correction is in order.

Glee! Joy! Delight!

Too much?

Okay, really, now. I enjoyed this theme and the way it was carried out immensely. The idea of connecting multiple words by their ability to be used in phrases with a single common word is a regular theme concept. But today's is brought together not by hiding the connection, but by celebrating it. The revealer comes at 56A: Series of documents that trace a path, as suggested by this puzzle (PAPERTRAIL).

Thus, the answers in the gray boxes are all words that can follow "paper" in a standard phrase, from [PAPER]TOWEL through to [PAPER]WORK. And cleverly, they are set up to make a trail from the NW corner down to the SE section. It would have been slightly more elegant to continue the trail right into the SE corner by making 62A the last of the "paper" words, but this is a tiny complaint to make.

Because of the construction of the grid and because the theme answers are short, there's plenty of room for fun long fill, like INKSTAINED and VOICEBOX. I miss having cats, so CATSITTING sound lovely. I got to spend some time with two over this past weekend at my sister-in-law's. Well, one. The other stayed as far away from visitors as it could.

Let's raise a glass to Neil deGrasse Tyson and his saying about SCIENCE. Strangely, in this day and age, you can apparently refuse to believe in it, and thus make it untrue just by being loud and repetitive.

Bad reviewer! Bad reviewer! You're supposed to be uplifting today!

There aren't a TON of clever clues today, but I liked 3D: What's aft a ship's aft (WAKE)

Fun Wednesday. Now we have the Turn to look forward to!

- Colum


  1. 14:33 (FWOE)
    I had an error at the MPAA/SLACKLINES cross, where I entered an "i" for the across ("slick lines"), which seemed reasonable to me, but had I read the down clue, I'd have corrected it. I liked that OCCAM made an appearance, as he always reminds me of Jodie Foster in "Contact," which reminds me of Carl Sagan, which brings us to one of his fans, Neil deGrasse Tyson, who does an OK job with the new version of "Cosmos," but not great. I say that, however, not having yet viewed the newest season, so I should hold my final opinion, but I found the first season a bit preachy. I appreciated Carl's approach, which was more subtle and thought-provoking without being at all off-putting. I agree with Colum that this theme was carried out quite nicely, but would have been slightly better had it ended at 62A. Straightforward clue for LSD today (9D It's dropped before a trip), but I take exception with WHALEBOATS, since those vessels were more properly ships, which would have worked for [PAPER]sACK, but not any of the other three affected crosses, so I'll accept it.

  2. 6:00

    I did not recognize Ms. Christenson's name and so I popped over to xword, and what do you know, it's a debut! I liked this unusual theme, too, and the fact that it's a debut makes it even more exciting. New thinking, new things... of course, to the Romans, "res novae" meant revolution, and to them, it was a bad thing, but maybe we're ready for it. We're ready for something, something new... right?