Sunday, November 1, 2020

Sunday, November 1, 2020, Julian Lim


Good morning to all, this bright November day. I hope you all enjoyed the extra hour of sleep. I did not, because my body is trained apparently to wake up at the same time, and that time is earlier now because of silly daylight savings. We also only had two doorbell rings last night on Halloween, which is frankly more than I expected. We had planned on using a drainpipe to deliver candy to people but when they were all crowded up by the door, it seemed churlish to ask them to stop back. Oh, well.

Anyway, here I am, back again for another week of blogging and forcing you to read my random thoughts. Actually, I recognize I'm hardly forcing anybody to read anything. You can always choose to click away. But you might miss something of brilliance if you do! Just saying.

Today, Mr. Lim gives us a straightforward theme: taking a standard phrase and replacing the W at the beginning of one word with SW, cluing wackily, and hilarity, as they say, ensues. Well, at least chuckling. I didn't get any laugh out loud moments. But I did like SWEPTFORJOY and SWISHLISTS the best. I also appreciated that in three of the answers, the replacing occurred with the last word rather than the first word, which added some unpredictability.

It would have been better if the rest of the puzzle could have avoided SW words. I count three, SWIPE, SWAT, and the eternal and divine SWANLAKE, which I forgive wholeheartedly, because Tchaikovsky. But I recognize that this sort of purity is hardly necessary in a large puzzle like this, and frankly, who am I to complain? It's not like I'm out there creating puzzles for y'all to delight over.

There was plenty to enjoy outside of the theme. I particularly liked PARTHENON, CARLSAGAN, and ISCARIOT. Just for the way it looks in the puzzle. Not for any religious reason, mind you. And EXQUISITE and IRIDESCE are especially lovely. We need more exquisiteness and iridescence in our lives.

I'll also note some fun clues, such as 92A: Up front? (SHORTU) - almost a cryptic crossword style clue there. I also really really liked 21A: Bottom lines? (XAXES). These two joined with TSTRAPS and AONE to make a small set of answers with standalone letters, always challenging.

On the other hand, answers like ORSER (champion in 1987, twenty-three years ago), UMIAK (boy I wanted kayAK), NORITE, and ROWEL were less enjoyable. But let's not get picky. I bet some people found these straightforward, and had more difficulty with other answers I found easy.

Looking forward to the week! Let's hope we all get exactly what we wish for.

- Colum


  1. 35:22
    Amusing enough theme that made for a fun Sunday solve in these parts. We, of course, had zero Trick-or-Treaters last evening, which, when added to the total number we've gotten here in our fifteen years at the YBH sums to zero. I thought SPARKLINGSWINE was pretty funny, but found the grid-spanning FORWANTOFABETTERSWORD trying a bit too hard. I'd never heard the term QUANT, but I've now made a note of it for future crosswords. Nice that OTHELLO and HAL both made it in the grid. And I do like seeing the full CARLSAGAN, long a favorite of mine, and XAXES (who doesn't love a graph?). SWANLAKE fell pretty quickly since the clue contained both the company and the year. I wear a TIEDYE on occasion, but have never made one, or at least don't remember ever making one. Nice trivia regarding the SEADOVE.

  2. FWOE, sheesh...for some reason I always misspell ONSTAR. To me, it's always ENSTAR for some wacky reason. Me favorite themers are SPARKLING SWINE and SWEPT FOR JOY, although they were all pretty funny. What I didn't know (and shame on me since I've read Dante's "Inferno" a zillion times) was ISCARIOT in the cellar spot.