Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Wednesday, March 10, 2021, Nancy Stark and Will Nediger

Hey, I'm back! What, you were expecting more family members to fill in for my reviewing duties? Sorry, Hope's busy, and Oliver the Havanese, as smart as he is, doesn't have the wherewithal to solve the NYT puzzle, let alone come up with a clever review.

I guess you all got spoiled this week, which is exactly the theme of today's puzzle. Our intrepid constructors have found three common phrases whose second half contains the word spoil/spoils. Then, leaving off the second half allows for the silly and brilliant revealer at 54A: Warning you might give before revealing the endings of 20-, 29- and 45-Across? (SPOILERALERT). 

It took the revealer to get me to understand what was going on, which is a sign of a good revealer, in my opinion. And the three phrases are top notch as well. Although I certainly never hewed to the concept of the third, SPARETHEROD, spoil the child. 

Adding to my troubles were my difficulties in the NW. I had the ever present ETTU quickly, but then fell for the trap set at 2D: Eight-time Oscar nominee for best actor (OTOOLE). Yes, I didn't read carefully, and quickly put in sTreep. Although I wouldn't put it past her to get nominated for best actor as well. Why not? My other temporary mistake was in putting BOzO for BOBO. But who likes clowns anyway?


I love that the two long down answers are related, with IRISHPUBS and SPORTSBAR. I have haunted a few of both in my day. Did Horace and Frannie and I ever tell you about our idea of creating a literary group associated with one such pub? The Plough and Stars on Massachusetts Avenue. Those carefree pre-child days... 

Finally, I'd like to nod at MESHUGA. It takes a good deal of chutzpah to insert such a bit of shpilkes into the puzzle. But who am I to kvell? 

- Colum


  1. Ahh, the Ploughians. Which would, of course, be pronounced "Plovians." That was the plan, right? Because plough could have been spelled plow, and we were thinking it could use the pronunciation twist of those who follow Shaw. Or did we settle on "Pluffians" because "Plovians" is just what the MAN would want us to do? Ahh youth... so confusing.

    And speaking of silly ideas, I liked this theme. I had TOOMANYChefS for a bit, but things got worked out.

    I eagerly await a barked review from Mr. Oliver Wigglesworth, Esquire.

    1. If one uses "Mr." is it ok to also use "Esquire," or is it just one or the other? There's so much I don't know about titles!

    2. No, you are correct. Esquire is the title for lawyers, who are called Mr.

  2. I suppose Colum doesn't hew to "Children should be seen and not heard," either. And the Worcester Telegram has taken to calling all people who act "actor," so Ms. Streep would certainly qualify if the Oscars were to take that same progressive step. I, too, needed the revealer to fully understand the theme, which I enjoyed. Never heard of the MESHUGA term before, though, so I've learned something. I take it this Wigglesworth would eat ALPO were it put in front of him.