Saturday, January 9, 2021

Saturday, January 9, 2021, Trenton Charlson

A few weeks back I posed the question of how to solve a crossword puzzle with friends or family in such a way that one's desire for speed doesn't alienate the co-solvers. One answer is to give up control of the keyboard entirely, which is what I did today, with my family. Hope typed, and the girls helped solve, and we had a lovely 20 minutes of crossword time together.

And for a delightful Saturday themeless by Trenton "King of the Scrabble Point Crossword" Charlson. This is not his actual nickname, unless by some miracle hundreds of NYT crossword puzzle fans read this blog post and make it go viral. And by viral, I mean so that nearly a thousand people read it.

In any case, I forewarned the fam that we should expect a ton of high value Scrabble letters, and was I ever right! 4 Zs, 2 Qs, 5 Js, 5 Ys and 2 Ks. No Xs though. Huge disappointment, if you ask me.

JK, as the younger generation likes to say. Answers like JAZZWALTZ, JUNOESQUE, and JACKSQUAT predominate. I love JOESCHMO and ZENMONK as well. Very chunky and interesting answers all around. 

LOQUATS. Never had one myself.

We had an interesting conversation as we solved the puzzle due to the clue at 2D: Wolf-headed god of Egyptian myth (ANUBIS). Cece scoffed and said it should be "Jackal-headed." I was certainly inclined to agree, but Wikipedia reveals that genetic analysis shows that the jackal is in fact in the wolf family. Is this enough to change how we denote the illustrations of Anubis in ancient Egyptian art? I'd say no, in that the artists (and generations on generations of people) have thought of it as a jackal. Thoughts?

Some fun clues included:

45A: Crow's home (TEEPEE) - a very nice hidden capital for the indigenous tribe.

11D: Selling points (MARTS) - not reasons to buy or typical prices for items, but places where selling happens.

29D: Finish line? (TADA) - what you say when you finish!

52D: Head of cabbage? (HARDC) - I wish I wouldn't fall for this so frequently.

Tomorrow, Horace returns. It's been a fun week in Crossword land, if nowhere else.

- Colum


  1. Super good time with this one! Loved the entries you pointed out, especially JOE SCHMO and the beautiful JAZZ WALTZ. My last letter to fall in was the D in DOTTED...only because I wanted the answer to be JOTTED. But gee, given the down word that would result from that? I don't think so. :-)

  2. Add me to the list of admirers. I'm a fan of Mr. Charlson, and his well-known and very popular sobriquet, "King of the Scrabble Point Crossword," helped me out, too. When I had __AR for "V.I.P. of industry," for example, I didn't hesitate for a moment in choosing the CZ beginning instead of TS. :)

  3. This was more of a struggle for me, at 43:53, but most of the answers were fair. Most people know that sports figures are generally unknown to me, so JAMAL Crawford is not a name I've heard, and I'm not particularly familiar with the term DOYEN, but I seem to remember hearing it before. Always nice to see the ODETOJOY. I tried peyOte at 1D off of the OBI cross, which served to slow me down in the NW for a while. I don't know the JOJOBA, nor did I know ANUBIS or LOQUATS up there. JUNOESQUE is similarly a new term for me, but I hope to have a chance to use it at some point. I guess we can give a shout out to the DCUP.