First off, I'd like to publicly congratulate Mr. Agard on his come-from-behind victory in the recent Boswords Winter Wondersolve crossword event. Frannie and I entered the fray in the Teams division, but we kept an eye on the top of the singles leaderboard, where Paolo Pasco, the reigning champion of the Boswords Fall Themeless League, was holding forth through the first two rounds. Then in round three, Mr. Agard absolutely shredded a vicious grid from B.E.Q. in 0:03:43, moving himself up into second place. On the final puzzle by Joon Pahk, Mr. Agard wasn't the fastest solver, but he beat Mr. Pasco by almost a full minute, and that was enough to edge him into the top spot overall. Multi-A.C.P.T. champ Dan Feyer rounded out the top three. Congtatulations, all.
Now, on to this lovely Friday puzzle with its central entry REPARATIONS. It's technically a themeless, but in this week featuring African-American constructors, that's definitely thematic. H.R. 40 is summarized on Congress's own site with: "Among other requirements, the commission shall identify (1) the role of the federal and state governments in supporting the institution of slavery, (2) forms of discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed slaves and their descendants, and (3) lingering negative effects of slavery on living African-Americans and society."
Seems like the best time to introduce this bill would have been in the fall of 1865, or maybe even January 1, 1863, but as we all know, the Emancipation Proclamation didn't instantly cure race relations in the U.S. Better late than never, I guess, although given the action on H.R. 40, it seems like it might actually be never.
Still, I remain hopeful that things will move in the right direction. They've got to, right? I thought they'd get better after Rodney King. After Michael Brown. After George Floyd. After so many others. If I had been there, I might have thought it would get better after Rosa Parks. After Martin Luther King, Jr. I'm getting older now, it would be nice to see some definite progress on race relations before I die. Maybe they're starting to get better now. I hope so.
But enough on that. Well, really, it isn't, but hopefully you know what I mean.
This puzzle was full of excellent entries and clever cluing: SWEARJAR (A fine way to discourage foul language?), NEWDAD (Pop up a lot, perhaps?) (Nice!), FLOWSTATE (What you're in when you're in the zone) ("good place" also fits here, unfortunately), SECRETKNOCK (Underground rap?), TAGTEAM (Pair of rings?) (that's wrestling rings). So much good, and almost nothing bad.
Loved it. Congratulations on the win, Mr. Agard, and on this puzzle.