Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Wednesday, January 27, 2021, Mike Knobler

Now I have to live down the embarrassing mistake I made in yesterday's post, thinking from a cursory interwebz search that there were 2 Ks in a Scrabble set. Thanks to faithful reader Mr. Kingdon for providing a link to official rules.

As a balm to soothe my furrowed brow, today's theme falls back on what we used to call Wacky Wordies, for those who recall the old GAMES magazine style puzzles. The three 15-letter answers are all phrases that start with prepositions that imply position underneath something. And then the phrase is placed below a word that is synonymous with the second part of the phrase.

Thus, 39A: Sick ... or where this answer goes? (UNDERTHEWEATHER) is placed under 36A: What to expect between June and September in India (MONSOON). The other two phrases, BENEATHCONTEMPT and BELOWTHESURFACE are equally recognizable phrases. I'm impressed that all three are 15 letters long and fit the requirements of the theme.

A real roadrunner and CACTI

Because of the close relationship of the long answers with the connected short answer, the grid has to put up with a fair amount of CST, NSEC, WDS, and UEY in those sections. But it's made up for with some nice long down answers in JANEFONDA and TUMMYACHE

38A: What's what, in Italy (CHE) gets my nod for best C/AP of the day. Another good one is 32A: Merit badge holder (SASH) - that is, not the boy scout. 52A: Knuckleheaded act? (NOOGIE) elicited a groan, of the good kind.

It's been a sort of odd week so far. But the turn starts tomorrow, so let's look ahead!

- Colum


  1. I liked NOOGIE the best since I wasn't expecting that answer at all, and didn't see it until several crosses were filled. UNDERTHEWEATHER/MONSOON was my favorite theme pairing, but I, like Colum, was impressed by all three. The lower two even had semi-related answers below them IMO: ICE and SEALANE. Some of the fill suffers a bit, but on the whole, the puzzle was enjoyable, if not a bit easy for a Wednesday (7:46).

  2. I totally agree with the three C/APs you call out at the end of the review. I was surprised by all of them!

    And you're right, Huygens, a SEALANE for a submarine could, I guess, be said to be UNDERTHESURFACE.