Sunday, June 27, 2021

Sunday, June 27, 2021, Ross Trudeau and Lindsey Hobbs


I've never read the Pynchon book, but today (finally!) it doesn't matter. In this puzzle, gravity works on a rainbow in the grid, pulling the colors downward, out of their Across answers. They appear in proper Roy G. Biv order from left to right, and if you solve online, the gravity-affected words are appropriately colored once the puzzle is finished! Fun!

I'm guessing this ran in June to help celebrate Pride Month, but - fun fact, the current LGBT flag has six stripes (omitting INDIGO), and the original had eight stripes (including pink and teal). But any way you stripe it, it was a colorful and enjoyable Sunday solve.

It started off strong with a fun clue for bad things - SCAMS (Rackets), and off of that the old-timey SHASTA Cola. SHASTA was founded all the way back in 1889, but do you know what soda is older? If you said Coke (1886), you'd've been right, but it wouldn't have been the one I was thinking of - Polar (1882!). It's a shameless plug for a product from my home town. :)

Anywho, how about the hilarious clue "A one and a two" for THREE. Hah! 

I like how ESOTERICA is followed by a good example of same: AZURE (Color whose name is derived from "lapis lazuli"). But being something of a skeptic, I would like to be able to see the work on this one. I'm not a professional etymologist, but I find that "lapis lazuli" was itself named for a place where the stone was collected. Both words went through Latin, as many words do, where the "lapis" part meant "stone" and the "lazuli (gen. of lazulum)" part meant "from that town," but it seems to have also more generally meant "blue," so probably it could be more simply said that AZURE comes just from the place name, and not the stone name (possibly from mistaken removal of the first letter because it was thought to be a French article). And to continue beating this poor blue horse, is it at all CONTROVERSIAL that we have this stray color word in a puzzle focussed, as it is, on specific colors? 

And while we're on the topic of etymology, I was also driven to do a little research by "Part of a religious title that means 'ocean'" (DALAI)." This does seem to be straightforwardly from Tibetan, and "DALAI lama" means "ocean monk," but why are they talking about the ocean way up there in Tibet? One source says it's because he's an "ocean of compassion." I like it.

And speaking of ESOTERICA, how 'bout BUGGYWHIP?

I noticed oddities along the way, like AWARDEE, SERENEST, EELIER, but overall, the minor ROUGH patches are smoothed by the overall colorful nature of the whole. Happy Pride Month to all.

- Horace


p.s. On the subject of Ravel, I must defer to my music major colleague. If he says he's worth listening to, I will blindly (deafly?) argue the same. As I said in the comments earlier in the week, all I know of the man is "Bolero," but I very much like the sound of "piano toccata," and someday, when I have a sound system hooked up again (long story), I'll give him another chance.


  1. Fun review, Horace! I enjoyed the theme and its execution.

  2. Neat! I should have twigged way earlier than I did, putting EVERGREEN in at the top right at the start, where it remained unchanged for the next 15 min. I liked CONTROVERSIAL. 'Irregardless' is a bit of a trigger-word for me.

  3. I certainly hope that Merriam-Webster mentions in its "definition" of "irregardless" that only an idiot would use it (see "idiot"). IDONOT, myself. I got the trick right away, always being ready for a tricky Sunday, even though it's not too common, so I finished in 23:46, a nice ratio. I liked the MRT/PITY cross-reference.