Saturday, June 26, 2021

Saturday, June 26, 2021, John Lieb and Brad Wilber

It's been a really great week for the NYT crossword puzzle, in my opinion. I've had a blast solving and blogging on them. Today's is no exception.

There are five grid-spanning 15-letter answers, and each of them works beautifully. We start with the ludicrous ICOULDEATAHORSE. I seem to recall on a trip to some town in England, my older brother announcing that he was so hungry he could eat an Anglican cathedral. 

The next one, THEMUDVILLENINE is so evocative. I still remember the last lines of the poem: 

Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,

The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;

And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,

But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out.

I always loved this poem as a kid, especially with the shocker that he doesn't come through for the home team. As a Red Sox fan, this seemed all too familiar, and also support for the inevitable heartbreak that came at the end of every season up until 2004.

34A: Like popping bubble wrap, for many (ODDLYSATISFYING) is exactly that: an incredibly satisfying answer. I don't think I've ever seen it in the puzzle before. [Checks] - Nope, it's never been in the NYT crossword before, and I'm happy to see it here.

The last two are not quite at the same level, but still quite good. CARETOELABORATE is very much part of the vernacular, and DRIVEWAYMOMENTS applies more to me when I'm listening to, say, a piece by Ravel (Maurice, French-Basque composer, 1875-1937), such as his remarkable Le Tombeau de Couperin, a suite of pieces dedicated to friends who died in World War I. Just listen to the toccata (only in the piano version) - so brilliant.


Some good clues today include 9D: It has its limits (CALCULUS); 4D: Entirety, redundantly (SUMTOTAL); 50A: Occupied leader? (PRE).

Fun week. Tomorrow, Horace takes back over. I expect the discourse about Ravel to continue until Huygens gives in. 11:49.

- Colum


  1. Great solving experience! I dropped in ODDLY SATISFYING almost immediately, because...well, because as you noted, Colum, popping bubble wrap is! (For me, it borders on ADDICTIVE, almost.) My first entry, though, was I COULD EAT A HORSE, because of the clue. THE MUDVILLE came next, but no way could I remember the name of the team. I finally guessed NINE so I could get on with things...and it turned out to be right! CAPE ANN was a gimme, natch...but the only entry that gave me pause was TEES as clued...wonder what I'm missing here? All in all, a gorgeous puzzle.

  2. Agreed all around. After a very slow start, I had to fight the whole way, but each hard-fought answer brought a smile.

    My father just recited "Casey at the Bat" on a recent Family Zoom, coincidentally. We never do learn the team name.

    Lovely puzzle.

  3. Back from a weekend in cottage country. so rejuvenating! I got I COULD EAT A HORSE straightaway as well, which definitely helped. 11:07 for me, a day late.

  4. I must have mentioned something about Ravel back a few puzzles prior to this one, and since I am working backwards commenting, I'll get to it eventually, so stand by.... Don't people hand t-shirts out made to commemorate an occasion, such as a reunion, hence TEES? I know I have tons of race TEES, and a few LEIs, come to think of it. CALCULUS was excellent, and I put it right in, of course. 23:08