Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Tuesday, December 1, 2020, Byron Walden


Huge, theme today! Four grid-spanning fifteens and two nine-letter entries, all crossing and making the grid look like a plaid shirt. The middle looks especially impressive with those three "REC" centers all run through by PRESSURECOOKERS. It seems like Mr. Walden himself is the one bragging WHATMORECANISAY at the end. And what, indeed? That's some really nice work on the theme.

It makes me sad that I didn't know this from the clue.

So what happens to "everything else" when you use forty percent of your white squares for thematic fill? Well, often it's a kind of TRAP that makes you resort to legalese, (EMBAR), old video games (GALAGA), and televangelists (OSTEEN). But that's not the case today. Well ... obviously it is, but really that's about the extent of the weirdness, and that's not all that bad. It's really just "edge material" for crosswords. There's the stuff everybody knows, or ought to know, and then there's the edge material that some solvers will know - and possibly love - but others will need crosses for. What I'm trying to say is that it's not outright junk fill like CHANGETO (replace with), which is rather ADHOC (Formed for a particular purpose). 

But along with the forced concessions there are some NIFTY entries like CONSORTS, REPUBLIC, and LITIGANT. And I thought PAWNS had a particularly nice clue (Half the pieces in a chess set). I waited to fill it in, expecting either "black" or "white," but when I got the second letter (A) from ADIN, I had to re-think things.

Quite a good Tuesday. 

- Horace

1 comment:

  1. 8:36
    As Horace was a little sad about not knowing LAGOS, I felt that way about MALI (1A Timbuktu's country), but the crosses were pretty easy. In fact, once I had AMOS and LIFT I filled it in (knowing it wasn't Bali, since I've been all about that island). It was surprising to have all of those fifteens in the grid on a Tuesday, but in a good, NIFTY way. No one, however, likes a HOMEFORECLOSURE or the eventual need for OBITS, but at least we have a TRYST. I could have done without reference to a charlatan like OSTEEN, but I'll accept it.