Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Tuesday, November 24, 2020, Caitlin Reid


Can I just say that we need more puzzles like this one? Three absolutely horrifically brilliant maritime puns, each in standard phrases, each now spanning the grid in a 15-letter answer. My favorite by far was 37A: "Wow, that's a giant sea cow!" (OHTHEHUGEMANATEE). Never mind that the clue and answer don't precisely match. I'll take that ludicrous pun any day.

I started the puzzle in the middle south of the grid, only because 1D directed me there. I knew it would be one of the two OBAMA girls (glad to see their entire name make it into the grid, even if in separate parts), but as always, Malia and SASHA both having five letters, it was safer to leave that section blank until I got back to it. Which, as it turns out, was at the very end of the solve.

This is a finely constructed grid, with much to enjoy, even with the middle section of short answers. I loved 10D: It may be a setup (BLINDDATE), especially right next to 10A: Garment with straps (BRA) and 15D: Nude (BARE). That's quite a setup, if you ask me.

I want to go to there

and ITDEPENDS were fun answers to come across. I can't say that I agree that a Deluge and an AVALANCHE are the same thing, except highly metaphorically. One absolutely implies an overwhelming amount of liquid, while the other implies masses of solids. Even if they're both water-based.

Little things made me happy. 24A: Column with an angle (OPED) is a sweet little clue. 30D: Lift provider (UBER) is a sly wink at that company's competitor. And how about 57D: Light wind? (OBOE). Such a great way to make that classic piece of glue shine.

And did I know that a SLOE is also known as a blackthorn?

No. No, I did not.

But now I do, for the short time that it sticks in my brain.

- Colum


  1. I did pause a bit at deluge and avalanche but once I switched to the (very common) metaphorical meanings, it worked well for me.

    fLOp before BLOW was an interesting one.

    And I didn't know SLOE is blackthorn but I'm all for cluing it in terms of the plant, rather than just its use in liquor, from time to time.

  2. 7:16
    I liked GREATCODALMIGHTY the most of the three theme answers, but they're all good. I did try WHALEILLBEDAmNED at first, but BARE fixed that right up. I agree with Mr. Kingdon on the deluge/AVALANCHE, in that it worked fine for me despite the small problem mentioned by Colum. This puzzle got my JUICES flowing, what with the blue-ish fill (LEERS, BRA, BARE) and with the TAMER but nevertheless excellent cluing/answers. I thought we'd seen the blackthorn reference before, but I still needed one cross to confidently enter SLOE.

  3. 5:47
    Absurd punning. I think my favorite was the cod-based as well. Makes sense, hailing, as I do, from the land of the bean and the cod.

    Fun puzzle.