Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Wednesday, October 14, 2020, Rich Proulx


You know things must have changed when you realize your daughter just turned 22. And indeed, it's a long way from Somerville, one block from Redbones, where said daughter first made her home, to where we are now. Although she's come nearly full circle, living back in the Greater Boston area.

But one thing that hasn't changed is the enjoyment I get out of solving a crossword puzzle! Today's cryptic clues are referencing DIGIT one through five on a hand. When you extend the fingers referenced in each clue, you get a hand gesture that symbolizes the answer. Thus, 39A: *2nd and 3rd separated gives you the VICTORY sign, popularized by Winston Churchill during the Blitz.

I personally am fond of the VULCANSALUTE, which Leonard Nimoy created. And apparently based off of a Jewish gesture of blessing. Because the Vulcan race, with its emphasis on stony-faced stoicism is so emblematic of the Jewish people. Fun that 5D: Extra on "Star Trek" (YEOMAN) crosses the hand gesture. I so wanted "redshirt" with echoes of Galaxy Quest...


The puzzle today, despite its five theme answers and additional 5-letter revealer, is remarkably smooth, due in large part to the separation of its various sections. Note that only two answers go through three theme answers: VOCALFRY and POLITELY.

At the end, I found myself wondering whether to put in KYlA or KYRA. HORAE made more sense to me than HOlAE, but I could see this being a Natick square. 

35D: Pen that's full of oink? (STY) gets my nod for cutest clue. I also liked the pairing of STUCK and 62D: This puzzle's solver (YOU). 

- Colum


  1. I too was quite befuddled when "redshirt" didn't fit.

    But yeah, this was a delightful puzzle and it has various virtues but I'm afraid all I can think about is "Pen that's full of oink?"

  2. 11:15
    I got ASSAY and CHUTE quickly, so tried YEllow instead of YEOMAN at first, even though I knew that yellow was the command color in the original Star Trek. Luckily, the VULCANSALUTE fixed that up. I'm torn between VULCANSALUTE and HANGLOOSE as my favorite, though, as the latter is ubiquitous in one of my favorite places and the former is, well, fictional but somehow important. KUSH went right in, not due to direct experience, but thanks to "Pineapple Express" and Seth Rogan. The "Addams Family" reference (KOOKY) was nice.

  3. 8:03

    My favorite thing about this puzzle was having my Dad ask me about the various hand gestures, and having him try out the HANGLOOSE one. It's perfect timing, really, because he just got his first pair of sunglasses - at 88 - so I suppose now he'll be giving the HANGLOOSE salute all the time.