Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Wednesday, December 16, 2020, Ed Salners and Alex Eaton-Salners


Ah, just what we all need. A puzzle with multiple government agencies!

But seriously, folks, this is a pretty clever idea, taking the alphabet soup that makes up our various federal organizations, and finding phrases where the acronym bridges the gap between the two words. And then it's all tied together with GOVERNMENTBONDS. It's a clever concept. I could take the time (and blog space) to note that 23A: 2002 musical that won eight Tonys (HAIRSPRAY) and 37A: Very picture of idleness (SCREENSAVER) - great clue there - are both single words, so they don't need a bond to tie them together, but really, who other than a reviewer / critic / sometime blogger would take the time to do that? 

Nobody. That's who.

I appreciate the nod to Hanukkah (tonight is night seven of eight) with 1A: Dreidels, e.g. (TOPS) and 62D: Need for making latkes (OIL). These are examples of clues where I feel certain the editors changed them to fit the publishing date. But maybe I'm wrong.

11D and 45D (OBIWAN / KENOBI) work both from a numbering standpoint and the sequence in which you're likely to encounter them as you solve, so that's a referring clue success story. 

OHIOART was a pull from deep memory banks. I had to have many crosses before it came clear. Did anyone else just drop that one in? 

And how about 55A: How Russia ranks first among all countries (INAREA)? Well, sure. No question there. But also in barley production. And largest livestock of domesticated reindeer. But those aren't likely to show up in the puzzle. It takes some chutzpah, in my opinion, but I liked it!

Anyway, I'm a little SLEEPY, and my analysis is coming to a close. Looking forward to the turn. For those of you in the Northeast, stay safe through the snowstorm!

- Colum


  1. 6:55 (in the end)
    So you're throwing out my "left to right" solving idea, eh? Yes... rightly so. OBIWAN KENOBI works just fine.

    And yes, I did drop in OHIOART off the clue, thank you very much. Ours was, until just recently, a two-Etch-a-Sketch home, but Frannie sent her green-knobbed monster to her sister a couple weeks ago, so now we've just got the one.

    INAREA, though, took me much longer than it should have. I immediately thought back to those SCTV skits where Rick Moranis would drop many other countries into the outline of the USSR, and I think I did, ridiculously, defiantly, type the letters AREA into the first four of those six spaces, and then backspace them out again, before getting a few crosses.

    Sadly, I brazenly (and incorrectly) dropped "egg" in where OIL went, and I think I also guessed AMIcAS at 44-Down, so there was quite a bit of clean-up to do when the "No" message came up. Ah well... I'm going to try to be more careful tomorrow.

  2. 13:20
    I needed almost all crosses for OHIOART, but then I never really took to the Etch A Sketch because it seemed a great deal of bother to make a drawing of something that could more efficiently be done with pencil and paper. Is SKOSH part of the Hanukkah nod also? Decent idea for a theme, but I didn't love the circles. I felt that we could have seen the agencies in the answers after getting the revealer.

  3. I too wanted egg in my latkes, but I had already filled in LEGO, so I didn't get it.