Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Wednesday, December 1, 2021, Christopher Youngs

Who doesn't like a pun? Nobody, that's who. Nobody at all. Ever.

Well, at least I know that the readers of this blog must enjoy them, as the responses to Frannie's posts indicates a degree of appreciation, and she is a master beyond compare.

Today, we get four puns on the sound /ɛr/, which are then clued wackily. My favorite is the first one, 17A: Play a wrong note during a violin sonate? (ERRONTHEGSTRING), referring to the famous movement from Bach's third orchestral suite, often called Air on the G String. I imagine this clue could have gone in a completely different direction, but that would have been highly unusual for the New York Times.

CLEANHEIRACT is cute, and EYRETOTHETHRONE is a funny headline for the situation described. I'm less sold on TOAIRISHUMAN, but three out of four is pretty darn good. I thought for a few moments after finishing that the puns were simply rotated around, as "heir" is the proper word for the original phrase at 59A, while "air" likewise fits in 17A. But then I realized that no phrase is likely to have "eyre" as its original spelling, so there went that idea.

It's nice that 1D: Heads of staff? (CLEFS) crosses the musical theme answer.


I don't think I've ever come across the word MUSKETRY in the puzzle before. And I'll admit to never thinking about how the Three Musketeers don't really use muskets. They're much more inclined to use swords. It makes for higher levels of entertainment, I'd wager. Although Indiana Jones used a gun at a sword fight to massive guffaws.

Anybody have an idea why 31D: Roll of stamps gets the answer COIL? I'm confused by that one.

Amusing Wednesday, which is a step in the right direction, in my opinion. And congratulations to Mr. Youngs for his NYT debut!

- Colum


  1. I seem to remember (or have I just created the memory) that a roll of stamps was just called a COIL of stamps. Anybody else? Kelly? I'll ask my dad next time I see him.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed this one. And yes, going blue on the first themer would have been surprising!

  2. I just today went to the post office to buy a roll of stamps. Only they were out, so I had to settle for...panes? Anyway, last night while paying bills (!) we realized we were out. the empty paper inside the roll came out like a slinky. All COILed up. Oh. The USPS uses "roll" and COIL interchangeably.