Sunday, April 4, 2021

Sunday, April 4, 2021, Angela Olson Halsted and Doug Peterson


Greetings, Dear Reader. Horace here, taking the reins after two lovely weeks of reviews by Frannie and Colum. We're still mostly homebound, but today the sun is shining in Boston, and the forsythia are just starting to come out. We have loads of crocus bulbs in the front yard, but this year they have been reltentlessly chewed down to ground level before they can manage to bloom. Stupid rabbits. Crocus are for humans! If it weren't Easter I'd ... 

Technically, I guess this is Athena with her owl, but she's essentially the same entity as MINERVA

So anyway, another thing that happened recently is that they started playing baseball again. I know this because yesterday my father told me that the Red Sox lost their season opener. Me, I've kind of given up on caring about or following most major, professional sports. But others, I understand, have not. Sooo...

Today we have a lovely baseball-themed puzzle, wherein the letters of "innings" (EXTRAINNINGS) are inserted, one at a time, in order, into familiar phrases, and then clued with a wacky-ish baseball-themed clue. It's a lovely idea and is executed as well as the best double steal. Let's look at a few examples:

"Perfect Curveball?" - IDEALBREAKER 

"Overenthusiastic description of a routine base hit?" - SOFAIRSOGOOD

"Imperceptible fastball movement?" - INVISIBLESINK

I just love that "So fair! So good!" answer. So silly!

Looking around the rest of the grid I see SEADOG (Old salt) which usually might be thought of as crosswordese, but here could be seen as bonus fill, referring, as it does, to the Red Sox Double A team in Portland, ME. I said I have given up on major professional sports, but I wouldn't mind getting back to Hadlock Field to see a game. Everything is better in a minor league park. Lower prices, smaller crowds, fewer ugly, rabid fans...

Interesting trivia about EGGPLANTS (In the Renaissance, they were known as "mala insana" ("mad apples") and the SWIFT (Bird that can spend up to 10 months in the air without landing) (WHY!?), and it was a fun clue for FOLKMUSIC (What's heard at many a coffeehouse). It seems so obvious, but I kept trying to think of the exact word for that noise that comes from the steaming/frothing of milk... 

Overall, I enjoyed this one quite a bit. A good start for another week of blogging. See you tomorrow!

- Horace


  1. I, too, enjoyed this one. And I, like Horace's father, knew that the Sox lost their season opener, not because I follow sports, but because I read the paper and sometimes see the news. I dropped DARWIN right in, of course, but had to think about LEBRON, even though he is one of the few sports figures of whom I'm aware. I've never been to a SEADOG game, but hopefully will attend one or two WooSox games this year. They just started practicing in their brand new field, Polar Park just up the road from us. 34:39

  2. I think Easter should be an excuse for your crocus-eating rabbits only if they lay eggs. But perhaps I'm not getting into the spirit of the season

    I liked the theme and noticed the insertion of the letters from INNINGS but only after I had finished and read the puzzle title (I always forget to do that before/during the solve) did I notice all the themers were baseball themed. I was dimly aware that a season is starting sometime around now but it didn't go much beyond that.