Sunday, February 27, 2022

Sunday, February 27, 2022, Sheldon Polonsky


It took me a minute or two, after finishing this puzzle, to understand what the theme was. "Cinemagrams" is a neologism (I imagine) that means, roughly, "a clue composed by rearranging the letters of the answer, a movie title, that has some relationship to the movie." The best one might be "Evil Streep had award" from THEDEVILWEARSPRADA. Streep won a Golden Globe for her part in the movie. Second best is "True fellow is a find" from ITSAWONDERFULLIFE. After that, they start sounding a little more strained. "M. Ryan, what's her yell?" (WHENHARRYMETSALLY), "Re: town fire one night" (THETOWERINGINFERNO), and so on. Anagrams, for me, fall into the same category as palindromes - there are a few very clever ones, but the descent is sharp and quick into really bad ones.

"Aid in putting together a fall collection"

Perhaps it was all the long movie titles that forced some unusual entries, or perhaps I was just having an off day, but whatever the reason, this SOLVE took me about twice as long as Sunday puzzles sometimes do. And as I look for culprits, I find a few things like YESTER (Lead-in to day or year) and VALSPEAK (Slangy SoCal dialect), that may have elicited a GRRR or two, but really, it might have just been the answers I wasn't expecting, like BUREAU (There's one for the U.S. Census), SCOURGE (Source of suffering), and HEREBY (Adverb in many legal documents). 

It might also have been the witty clueing, like "All the kings' men?" for CHESSSET (Nice), "It's a lot in London" for CARPARK, or "Tip of the tongue?" for ESE. That one is very tricky. I think it is referring to the ending "tip" of several language words, like "Chinese," "Portuguese," "Vietnamese," and "Japanese." I might argue that it is ice sheets, and not GLACIERS that have "massive calves," but I guess some glaciers might eventually run out of hillside and end up hitting the ocean.

Did you notice that "tipify" fit in where EMBODY (Be a paragon of) belonged? Yeah, me too. And I loved "Harvard dropouts, maybe?" (ARS) - when I finally got it, that is. (Think: "Pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd.") And it even had a little something for our Quebecois friends ("ICI on parle fran├žais").

Overall, quite a good, challenging puzzle. Oh yeah, and it had a theme. :)

- Horace


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  2. Maybe some of them were a little contrived, but respect for the long anagrams! The only thing was, once it was apparent that they were movie titles, it took only a few crossers from each to deduce them by sight. I had TEE in there for "Tip of the Tongue", which seemed reasonable until it showed up elsewhere. I didn't even see ICI, having filled it in from the crossers, but yes, that's a very familiar phrase to me, and had inflammatory overtones back in the days when Quebec separating from Canada was a real issue. 10:38 in the end for me, not too shabby :)

  3. I loved it! The clues -- both thematic and fill -- are amazing.