Thursday, August 19, 2021

Thursday, August 19, 2021, Oliver Roeder

Today's constructor was feeling his OATs! Mr. Roeder served up six square meals by storing the letters OAT all in one CEREALBOX, or puzzle square. The hidden capital in the clue "Life preserver? ... or a hint to six squares in this puzzle" makes it work on two levels - ha! Wild oats are SOWN throughout the grid: in HOUSEB[OAT]S, M[OAT]S, BL[OAT]WARE (apt!), and in the lovely word L[OAT]HSOME. FITT[OAT]ATEE was especially nice for its word boundary-crossing nature. 

Solve-wise, I ran into a little trouble in the northeast at 24A. I didn't know the "1970 John Wayne film" (RIOLOBO) and thus was left with _EB for "It has a cedar tree on its flag." I was thinking U.S. states not countries (I blame you, Nebraska!) When I mentioned to Horace that I was stuck on this one square and he said, "I would have thought you could think of a country often associated with cedars." Once I heard the word 'country', I realized I had been barking up the wrong tree, so to speak.

Unfortunately, dear Readers, after entering an "L" in the remaining blank square, all was not glitter, rainbows, and unicorns. I had a FWOE. It took me a minute to hunt it down, but I found it hiding in the very southeast-most corner of the grid. I had been stumped by the clue, "They're used in a crunch" (63D). Without any supporting letters in that quadrant, I entered AAA - thinking of crunch as a fender bender. The rest of the Across at 69A: "Some creatures in the ocean's 'midnight zone'" filled itself in from the Downs, so I didn't notice that EELa had slipped in where EELS belongs. Derp. Still, it is a fun clue. It's not the constructor's fault if ABS are buried too deep to surface for this solver. :)


I also liked these two clues for some of crosswords' old chestnuts: "Stand-in for the unnamed" (ETAL) and "Org. known for counting backward" (NASA). Fill-wise, the grid features a number of my favorite words like THRESH, GALORE, and RHYTHM. I also really like the expressions DRUM up and BUM out - hit after hit! 

And speaking of tricky capitals, how about the clues: "Waits on an album release?" (TOM), "Rival of Hoover" (ORECK), and "Mobile home?" (CRIB) - yeah baby! To sum up, I liked just about everything - a capital puzzle all around!



  1. Fun review for a fun puzzle. Everybody loves a rebus! Who knows, maybe this will even draw Huygens back in for a comment. :)

  2. ABS figured prominently in an old puzzle I constructed, if I am remembering correctly. No trouble with that, but the word that crosses the B in those muscles was the highlight of the solve for me. CRIB went in fairly easily, once I realized BLOATWARE had to be a thing, but I just couldn't quite make the clue work. I was hung up on the domicile sense of "home," and I just couldn't get off of it for the longest time. CRIB is definitely a home of sorts, how does Mobile figure in? CRIB isn't a southern thing, is it? Finally, well after I was done with the puzzle, the false capital hit me and I realized "mobile" meant baby's crib adornment. Such a fun realization, when it came! Top was easy for me, bottom a bit tougher since I did not immediately know HIREE, FOGEL, BLOATWARE, TERI, KYOTO, or RIALTO. On the top half, I actually did know where Dalmatia was; RIOLOBO was a gimme for this Wayne fan. I also knew who wrote "Them" in 1970, which, combined with a favorite word of mine, MOILS, helped me finally work out the middle south. Yes, the rebus was nice, but it was so easily identified at the crossing of CUTTHROAT and MOATS. No problem at all there. Hardest square on the grid for me was the middle of DNC. Had to scroll through many other consonants before I realized the "Blues" were Dems in the Democratic National Committee. Excellent Thursday, thanks largely to the challenge of the bottom half of the grid.

  3. That dang nEB vs LEB. Also I should have gotten RIOLOBO, but RIOnOBO seemed maybe okay? You're right, I raised an eyebrow at that when I put it in, but a raised eyebrow wasn't enough to make me change it.