Thursday, September 30, 2021

Thursday, September 30, 2021, Rich Proulx

Every week I blog about the NYT crossword, I look forward to Thursday, as part of the Turn, as we like to call it here at HAFDTNYTCPFCA. It's a chance to see how tricksy our constructor friends can get (although they don't go as crazy as Puzzle #5 at the ACPT, typically). So, while I think this theme is pretty snazzy, I was somewhat disappointed today. But only a little.

The concept here is standard two word phrases where each word can be parsed as the sound something makes, then is clued by those two sound making somethings. I probably could have done without the = part of each clue. It took away from the trickiness.

So as an example, you get a cell phone, which often rings, and bubble wrap, which definitely pops, together making RINGPOP. Or, even better, a lightsaber and impatient fingers creating HUMDRUM. The revealer is apt (apt!), at 57A, SOUNDMIXING


For fun clues, we get a few like 60A: It's often included in a good deal (ACE) and 62: Watch it! (VIDEO). In the down clues, there are a couple of QMCs like 2D: A key to what's underneath? (DOWNARROW). This is very nice, but I so wanted DOWsingrod (one letter too many). Also 32D: United way? (PLANERIDE).

I appreciate three word phrases in eight letters, which comes up twice, symmetrically, with COZYUPTO and IMALLOUT

I almost had another Natick moment (a square where the letter is a guess in both directions) at the crossing of ABE and BAIDU, but B was the most likely answer.

A quick solve for a Thursday at 5:43. Looking forward to the themelesses tomorrow and Saturday!

- Colum


  1. I got on to the theme of this one nice and early and consequently came thru in a nice 4:49. (The 'B' of BAIDU/ABE was a wild, lucky guess for me. Where does 'Natick' come from?)

  2. For all of our mere mortal solvers, I'll say that I finished in 10:04, and the B was a lucky guess for me, too.

    I believe Rex Parker coined the term Natick, to mean an unknowable square, after the Massachusetts town was used in a puzzle grid, and Rex, Philistine that he is, had never heard of it and decided that it was totally unfair to use towns he had never heard of in puzzles. I'm not sure why it's fair to use rivers, people, and constellations one has never heard of, but not perfectly well-known Massachusetts towns, but, well, that's how it is. Personally, I have decided to never use that town name to mean a square I can't figure out in a puzzle, but that's just me being my old ornery self. :)