Monday, December 14, 2020

Monday, December 14, 2020, Jessie Bullock and Ross Trudeau


I wonder if the editors of the puzzle take note of recent events and find ways to acknowledge things by editing the clues. I feel certain, for example, that 34D: Typical John le Carré work (SPYNOVEL) is a nod to the recent passing of the referent. But I doubt that the answer was changed in order to squeeze in the nod. I have never read any of his books.

Today's puzzle, however, is not a nod to male writers, but rather to WOMENOFLETTERS, which is then interpreted as finding women whose names are homonyms for letter names. I like that the creators found two with first names that fit the criterion, and two with last names. Of the women honored with inclusion, I am particularly fond of SAMANTHABEE and SANDRAOH.


Of the rest of the puzzle, I will note BALLET and a nice crème BRULEE. Also present are both the Greek and Roman gods of the dawn, EOS and AURORA

I am not fond of EARWIGS, as a rule. I ask our reading public what they think of clues where the referring clue is after the referred clue. This occurs with SERIF / SANS. I'd rather they came in the opposite order, but solvers can't be choosers, only constructors.

SHEHER is very odd looking, but quite contemporary. I will finally note that "Cher or Adele" has been used quite a bit for "alto" as opposed to DIVA.

- Colum


  1. Being more knowledgeable about politics than acting or modeling, I only knew two of the four themers. But despite that I basically was able to ACE the puzzle. I was a little surprised at myself when I said to myself, hmm, was that Gangham Style guy PSi or PSY? (Given how famous that song was for a while). Favorite answer? DREWNEAR. Something about it being a common phrase but rarely in puzzles, and sort of gettable from the clue but at least for me needed some crosses.

  2. 3:53
    It's a little funny to think of ELLEMACPHERSON as a WOMaNOFLETTERS, but she's the only one of these four I can picture with any confidence. My ability in that area decreases as the list progresses, incidentally.

    The BALLET/BRULET pairing is nice, and yes, I, too, liked running into DREWNEAR. And I liked the formality of "Negative reply to a general."

    Finally, I will answer that I do not like the backwardly-linked clues like SERIF/SANS. It's unpleasing.

  3. 7:27
    I don't care which way the linked clues appear; it's all the same to me. Colum is probably correct; I'd bet that SPYNOVEL was differently-clued leading up to the publishing of the puzzle. I never read a le Carre novel, either, but have enjoyed a movie or two based on his books, most recently "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" with Gary Oldman, so maybe I should read one.