Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Wednesday, March 23, 2022, Barbara Lin

I have some bad habits when it comes to puzzle solving. One is that I almost never take note of a puzzle title. I look at the title of the Sunday NYTX, but it's often so clever that it is not immediately helpful. Other puzzles often have more straightforward titles that could help a lot with the solve if you think to take note of them. I mention this now, because the ACPT is coming up, and all its puzzles are titled. In my first year at the tournament, I didn't notice any of them and paid for it, but I'm hoping that by saying this now, I remind myself, and all of you, to look at them this year.

The second thing I do is I generally skip over theme clues when they are the least bit opaque, which is what happened today. I see all caps and I just tab to the next clue. Sometimes I fill in a theme answer from crosses and then try to figure out why it works. But this time, I just plowed forward without ever looking back. In the back of my mind I thought the capitals could have something to do with the BEATLES, since they had such a place of honor in the center. Luckily, I didn't spend too many brain cells on that idea.


So anyhooo, now that the review is half over, let's talk about the puzzle and its fun FLIP-FLOP theme. The FLIPs are QUICKSALE and COINTOSS, the FLOPs are EPICFAIL and PLUNKDOWN, and the FLIP-FLOPs are CASUALSANDAL and POLICYCHANGE. It's a strong set.

In the fill, I enjoyed ACUTE (Less than right), RENTS (Doesn't buy, say), BOOSTER (Third shot, for many), UNTIE (Make a knot not?), TACTFUL (Like whatever comes after "How should I put this?") (I had "badnews"), and HUFFILY (With a chip on one's shoulder). That last word is especially nice. It's how one might say "RULE schmool!"

I had rEChAll for PECLASS (Place to play dodgeball, informally), which didn't help things. And are there really 2,300 languages in ASIA? Incredible. Is it any wonder we humans find it so difficult to get along?

It was a tricky one for me, but a satisfying solve. 

And lastly, I just want to say, Thank you, AZTEC culture! (Culture that introduced popcorn to the world). Better late than never, right?

- Horace


  1. Yes! Your review really resonated with me - a tricky solve with the same pattern (ignore the theme clues for as long as possible, enter RECHALL not PECLASS and regret it later). Toughest Wednesday in a while, for me.

    Looking forward to the ACPT!! I have many questions. Like, when you're there in person, do you solve with a pencil/pen and if so, do they have a whole army of people to do the checking?

  2. Seconding the belated but sincere thanks to the AZTEC folk!

    Philbo, they give you pencils. And you solve in a big room with tables and the tables have these cardboard gizmos between you and your fellow solvers. When you're done you raise your hand and one of the team members takes it and notes your time and then you leave the room.

    Kelly <---wondering what happened to the option of getting notified of other posts...

  3. I thank the AZTEC, but my teeth do not. Fun puzzle. I've been thinking I need to start solving on paper again in order to get used to the fact that I can't just click to the next clue. It's funny that when you put your finger on the grid when it's on paper, nothing happens.

    Philbo, there are a lot of people whose job it is to check the puzzles at the ACPT, I guess, but honestly, I just hand the paper in and wait for the scores to show up...

  4. Philbo, it is as Kelly says, but I like to bring my own pencils. And sharpener! And eraser... :)

    I started doing some puzzles on paper recently. I do think it helps a little to get used to it again.

    Looking forward to being there again. We'll be there for the fun & games on Friday night.

  5. I'm like Horace, I saw the all caps, figured there must be some very tricky connection where the flip-flop answers, I don't know, switched the order of the letters between, oh, I don't know I just figured it must be tricky. But it was a reverse trick in the sense that the all caps clues, well just were synonyms for the answers like most clues.

    I'm not making it to the ACPT this year, but maybe in a future one.