Thursday, December 24, 2020

Thursday, December 24, 2020, Billy Ouska

"The trouble is, you think you have time." - Jack Kornfield

Yesterday, a rebus, today, an anti-rebus. Didn't you, when you got to 17-Across (LETTHEGOODSROLL), feel that something was missing? Yes, it was that one thing that we all seem to have too much of lately, and yet still not enough.

Riding the PINE

CANTFINDTHETIME (Is unable to get away, say ... or a hint to 17-, 24-, and 40-Across?) is a perfect revealer for these three phrases, all short on time. And if you enjoy crossword theme details, you might find it pleasing to notice that time was taken from the middle of the first theme answer, from the beginning of the second, and from the end of the third. There's nowhere it can hide where it won't be plucked away.

Before I run out of time, let's review all the great Down Fill: 

HATTRICK (Series of goals) - great clue.

RIDDANCE ("Good ____!") - said no one about time ever

STOICISM (Endurance of hardship without complaint) - Always aspired to, rarely achieved

PREDATOR (Polar bear, to seals) - Could probably have also used "Human" in the clue (on either side)

Interesting trivia in "There are more of these in the U.S. in October than any other month, surprisingly" (BRIDES), and kind of an odd "forced trivia" clue for TWICE (How often Bette Davis won Best Actress). I'm not complaining about the clue, just noticing its arbritrariness and moving on.

And one last bit of odd trivia - who knew a baby rabbit was called a KITTEN? What about bunny? At first I thought maybe KITTEN came down from a word meaning child, like the Dutch kind, but no, it seems to be a diminutive of a word meaning cat. So why should it be applied to rabbits? And foxes? Well, maybe because foxes look kind of like cats? Who knows. Be careful, though, because a baby hare is not called a kitten - it is a leveret. Obviously.

This is a strong debut for Mr. Ouska. The fill is interesting, the cluing is spirited (note the clever internal deception of 11D: Advantages (PROS) and 26D: Cons (FELONS)), and there's almost no junk. 

A fine Thursday.

- Horace



  1. This one cracked me up, once I *finally* got the theme -- I'm still chuckling at the image of bowling balls rolling all over the place.

  2. 9:05
    As much as I am PROS a Thursday rebus, I really enjoyed this one. Very strong all the way through, NOLIE. Of course, I'd rather not bring up my WAIST right at the moment; maybe in a few weeks after I've had some time to work on it. How many ways are there to clue ETNA? I guess we'll SEED. I always thought a baby fox was a "kit," but evidently that's just a shortened version. CRU makes me thirsty, and the BALD quote was excellent.