Sunday, May 30, 2021

Sunday, May 30, 2021, Adam Wagner


Hi everyone! Glad to be back with you for another scintillating (I hope) week of reviews. As always, my respect to Horace and Frannie for two weeks of fun and interesting posts.

But I win, and the reason why is I get to review a puzzle with Rob BRYDON in it, the first time that's ever happened. If you don't know who he is (and the picture below doesn't jog your memory), may I suggest that you watch the series of movies he made with Steve Coogan, all titled "The Trip." They are essentially entirely improvised, and genuinely hilarious, in my opinion.

Oh, the rest of the puzzle?

Sure, it's okay.

Just kidding! I actually really enjoyed today's theme, related to chess, as revealed at 47D. You can either end a game in CHECKMATE, or when you realize that you're doomed, you can resign by knocking your king over. Thus, we find six examples where the name of a well known king has been knocked sideways out of long down answers. For example, 22D: Spent some time on YouTube, say (WATCHE[DAVID]EO) has the biblical King David sideways at 55A.

Typically, I know that we're supposed to expect that the names will cross over from one word to another in the originating phrase (as in the example above, as well as in TI[MIDAS]AMOUSE, YU[KONG]OLD, and FIDD[LEAR]OUND). The other two examples don't do this, but I don't mind. I very much like NAR[COLE]PTIC, which is a diagnosis in my field of medicine. DESMOND[TUT]U is probably the weakest of the answers in this way, but it's his full name, and we only usually see his last name in the puzzle. It's also nice that each time, the king has fallen down to the left.

My hardest point in the puzzle was at the crossing of 52D: Mowry who starred alongside her twin Tia in the '90s sitcom "Sister, Sister" (TAMERA) and 64A: Pickup line? (RAM). I put the M in because it made the most sense, but only figured out the joke about a line of pickup trucks after the fact.

Some weirdness with GARYIN (I have often heard of the city by Gary, Indiana, but never this way) and the sort of ad hoc answer at 1D: Some hip-hop collectibles (RAPCDS), but otherwise I don't have any complaints. On the positive side, there's OCTOMOM, WENTBYEBYE, and HOTCOCOA, which would go over well in the very cold and wet Northeast of the USA.

- Colum


  1. Well, wow. I admit it, I never properly twigged to the theme, even after completing the grid (spending at least two minutes rooting out my erroneous CLEOAWARD in the process), sitting back and trying to figure it out. Very clever! Among many other great clues, I liked the simplicity of 'F-'.

    Enjoy your stat holiday tomorrow, my American friends! We Canucks had ours last Monday.

  2. Once I figured the theme out, I was able to fill this in reasonably quickly, coming in just under 30. RAM took me a while, too, and its cross TAMERA is completely unknown to me, so that didn't help. I, too, enjoyed the theme and puzzle, but hadn't noticed the falling to the left of all of the kings. I obviously needed all crosses for DABEARS and even for MACJR. I don't love INKER, but don't have any real complaints.

  3. I get the NYT Xword in a local paper that doesn't seem to be the same one you are discussing.
    Di you recall a clue about when the Peanuts strip first appeared? The answer is NINE but I don't get the connection.

    1. Maybe it's the "Syndicated" version. You can find a link to the review for the relevant puzzle in the upper right of this blog page, above the "Blog Archive" section. There should be a date on the puzzle in the paper when it was originally published, which should help find the proper review. I hope this helps. I don't remember that clue about the Peanuts.