Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Wednesday, September 15, 2021, Sophie Buchmueller and Ross Trudeau

Happy debut puzzle to Ms. Buchmueller! Congratulations and felicitations.

And it's a killer theme, as well. The revealer comes at 57A: Basketball feint ... or a hint to 17-, 24-, 36- and 46-Across? (HEADFAKE). I like it because it works on a couple of different levels. First off, each answer is something non-original that might be added to a place in the head. A DENTALCROWN is a "fake" tooth, while a POWDEREDWIG is "fake" hair.

But also, the head fake can also refer to the clues, which are all excellent misdirections. If there were no question marks, you'd have to work pretty hard to figure out where they were going. You might have guessed by now that I'd rather there were fewer question marks in the puzzle. But you have to love a clue like 36A: Batter's additions? (FALSELASHES). Someone who's batting his or her eyes, that is. Or "Old rug in a courtroom?" That's fun stuff.

Other fun clues in the fill included 15A: Garten of eatin' (INA). A lovely way to make a less than exciting 3-letter answer interesting. Or 42A: Save it for a rainy day (TARP) - here, the "it" refers to the answer itself. And 64A: They can be even, paradoxically (ODDS). Very nicely done.


Along with nice entries like ASIFICARE and ICEBOXES, this was a very enjoyable solve that took maybe a little longer than I'd typically see on a Wednesday. My biggest error came at 33D where I put in Ltd off the first letter, rather than LLC. But nothing too bad.

Great job!

- Colum


  1. Back to a very mortal solve time on this one! (5:35) Thought the theme was extra brilliant, too, with great misdirections in the themed clues.
    Re. YESAND - Any of you guys ever done improv? I took a few classes at Second City when I was younger (still fully 10+ years older than everybody else) and it was a blast. Should have kept it up...

    1. Yes, Philbo! I have done improv, mostly in high school. It was a ton of fun.