Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sunday, October 11, 2020, Gary Larson


Hey all! I've decided that a change must happen, and I'm not talking politically. Although that too. I'm talking in this blog. And to be perfectly clear, I'm talking with my tongue firmly in my cheek.

You see, every week when I start to write my reviews, I look back on the previous week's reviews by one Frannie, AKA Frances Page. And I despair. How can I ever live up to these pieces of brilliant wit? How does she do it? Where does she see these ludicrous puns? And entire reviews with themes.

The answer, of course, is to stick to what you do best. Don't try to emulate others' styles, unless it's a conscious homage.

So, here we go. I am amused by the title of today's puzzle, as if we were going to Toys 'R' Us. But instead, we are to imagine a rebus square, with the letters PIR enclosed. And you know how much we here at HAFDTNYTCPFCA enjoy a rebus. There are seven such rebus squares, with only two squares placed symmetrically, which increases the pleasure of the treasure hunt aspect.

Of the fourteen words containing the rebus, my favorite by far is MISSISSIP[PIR]IVER, both for getting the state name in the grid, and the fact that the rebus spans the two words in the answer, one of only two examples where that happens (PUM[PIR]ON is the other one). Also I like BABYAS[PIR]IN, the medication I prescribe the most frequently, and EM[PIR]ESTATE, my home state. I think it's pretty AWEINS[PIR]ING to be able to come up with this many strong answers that fit the theme.


If we move past the ENLACE, EMANENT, UPTILT sort of answers, fill that's there to make the puzzle work but which we all agree a puzzle would be stronger without, there's plenty to delight.

How about 1D: Grumpy co-worker (DOC)? I laughed out loud when I got the answer. Not what I was thinking due to a beautiful hidden capital. ANAEROBE and AGNUSDEI are lovely answers. The puzzle also nods to both The Addams Family (TISH) and the MUNSTERS

I note today that ONEG can be clued both as the blood type and the force of gravity we experience on the surface of the Earth. I suppose that with ONEL in the same grid, it made more sense to choose the former clue choice. 55A: Square things (ATONE) can also be clued in two different ways, depending on how you parse the word. I thought that clue was very clever, and it also played on 39A: Power of a square (TWO).

An enjoyable start to the week. I hope you enjoyed my review equally!

- Colum

PS - In, the puzzle's title is "πr2." Did anybody see that in their version? It would have increased the difficulty of figuring out the theme!


  1. I actually think it would have been even more fun with the math symbols. Seemed a little too much was given away right at the start with the “Pi R Squared” title.

  2. 25:39
    I agree with Mr. Clark. As soon as I saw the title, I was on the lookout for a rebus, which I found quickly in CONS[PIR]ACYTHEORY, and never looked back. It would definitely been more of a challenge using the familiar symbol. There were some troubling crosses for me: TASSE/SEDALIA and MAHALIA/ALLEN. Luckily, the correct answers were inferable. Amazing that crosses with the rebus squares all work so well, especially [PIR]OUETTES. I wanted baNNers to somehow fit where PENNANTS goes and was happy to see TISH ("The Addams Family" was far superior to "The Munsters," IMO) adjacent to VAM[PIR]EBAT, which is nicely seasonable. Fun Sunday solve.