Sunday, November 15, 2020

Sunday, November 15, 2020, Caitlin Reid


YAY! A themeless Sunday! And not only that, but a fun one.

If I haven't already made this clear (I have), I'd like to admit that puzzle themes, for me, are secondary considerations. Even when they work well, they are usually only worth a quick acknowledgment and, if you're lucky, a chuckle. And sure, there are some that are truly clever, and I'm not really talking about a Thursday-style trick - those are different. I'm talking about the typical Monday-Wednesday/Sunday-style theme that seems to be a requirement for publication on those days. Would anyone (aside from Jeff Chen) be disappointed if every puzzle from here on were themeless? Or if, maybe, a weekly themed puzzle were to become as rare as a themeless Sunday? Well, I don't know about everyone else, but for me, I repeat "theme shmeme!"

(Perhaps this is a good time to plug the Boswords Fall Themeless League. It's more than halfway over now, but I think you either can or will be able to buy the puzzles eventually.)

GRETA Gerwig
So what do I like in today's puzzle? Well, my favorite C/AP is probably "Many a dare, in hindsight" (TERRIBLEIDEA). It sounds like a short-story prompt, doesn't it? What has Ms. Reid been through, one wonders? Perhaps there are episodes she wishes could be DELETEDSCENES from her life. Hopefully none so serious to have involved a COURTREPORTER (Hearing aid?). 

"Line delivered in costume" (TRICKORTREAT) was fun, and seems appropriately timed, with ADESTEFIDELES (Seasonal song with lyrics in Latin) following shortly after. And if we're going to focus on the season, it's probably a little cold for SKINNYDIPPING (Barely afloat?), but that clue was excellent. Perhaps if there were a WARMSPELL (Heat of the moment?) ...

PLANETEARTH (You are here), SHOESTORE (Place you may go just for kicks?), MARESNEST (Quagmire), SLUMBERPARTY (Occasion to stay up late), LUAU (Beach ball?) - so many fun entries.

If I get a say, I vote for more of these occasional "surprise" themeless puzzles. More than 1,000 people  signed up for the Boswords themeless league, so I can't be the only one who thinks this way.

I hope you enjoy it, and if not, then hopefully you'll be happier tomorrow, when I'm fairly sure we'll see another word ladder, "these words can all be followed by...," or "these words can all be connected if you think of them in this way..."-type theme. And if that's the case, then THATSOKAY. It's still a crossword puzzle, and we still like solving them. :)

- Horace


  1. 26:47
    Well, as sometimes happens, I didn't look at the puzzle's title and so didn't know this was a themeless during the solve. I thought that the cluing was quite nice today, and did notice it at several points. I liked the "quick study/quick studies" pairing: CRASHCOURSE/NATURALS. Also, the "Mississippi" trio of SHORTIs was an interesting way to clue that one. And did anyone else try ebOnIES where IVORIES goes? I am not sure why I tried that first, but there you go. I guess I enjoy a themeless puzzle at least as much as a themed when it comes right down to it. But we humans like it when things have some sort of a connection, however tenuous.

  2. An excellent large themeless, and a fun and challenging solve.

  3. 100% agree with the review, and the preference for themeless puzzles.

  4. While I wouldn't want a steady diet o' themeless puzzles, I'm with you guys on this one -- a delightful puzzle, solidly constructed, beautifully clued...a very nice way to spend some Sunday time with.