Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Tuesday, September 14, 2021, Christopher Adams

Hey everyone! Quick blog post today as I get ready for rehearsal. My chorus has gotten back together this fall for a new season. Weird to be singing in masks, but it's lovely to be making music once again.

The theme did not become clear for me until I finally got to the revealer at 57A: 2013 Best Musical Tony winner ... with a hint to this puzzle's theme (KINKYBOOTS). Mind you, I recognized that the same 5 letters were being used in different combinations in the shaded squares, but they were mixed up enough to keep the trick hidden long enough. I do enjoy a nice aha moment, and this puzzle supplied it for me.

That's a lot of Bs and Os in the grid! I recognize that the constructor could not have possibly used every combination of the 5 letters. We don't see OOBST or BOTSO, for example. Still, it's a nice set up, and everybody loves to see BOSTONPOPS in the grid.

Other highlights for me include KOKO, from an old favorite. Although honestly, I'm not convinced The Mikado is easily produced nowadays. The casual racism (even if disguised as commentary on Victorian England) is all too present. And the idea of White actors and actresses donning makeup to look Asian is very problematic.

I liked 30A: Top Olympian (ZEUS). I was trying to imagine who in the history of the Olympics could be categorized as the best of all time, and then realized it was more literal. In a sense.

Sorry for the short post! See you all tomorrow.

- Colum


  1. Harvard did a re-imagining of The Mikado a few years ago, set in an Orientally-themed Vegas hotel. It's a shame about the Mikado, because so much of it is witty without being racist, but then, so much of it is racist...

    I didn't know what was going on in this one, either, but I like that there are so many variants.

  2. Aha moments are what these crossword puzzles are all about! (Also why I do cryptics.) I had a weird, never-to-be-repeated savant episode with this puzzle - just sat there and typed away until the whole grid was filled in, in *2:15*. Now looking back, I appreciate the cleverness of the theme. Math quiz : how many distinct permutations of B.O.O.T.S are there actually? I think it's 60. That'd be quite the coup, Colum, devising a grid with all 60 in there :)

    1. Holy cannoli, Philbo! That's a crazy time.

    2. By the way, it would be fewer than 60, right, because there are two Os?

    3. I know eh?! I think if it were BOATS instead of BOOTS, it would be 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 = 120, but the two O's bring it down by a factor of 2, to 60. (Interestingly and a bit obliquely, the notion of indistinguishability (here, the two 'O's) is one of the underpinnings of statistical thermodynamics :) )