Thursday, May 19, 2022

Thursday, May 19, 2022, Alex Rosen

Today the temperature is in the 50s. Tomorrow in the 90s. Maybe nearly 100 on Saturday. Makes you think about end times, doesn't it?

But no reason to be maudlin. Not with a fun and tricksy Thursday puzzle to review! The trick today comes with four words or phrases which can't be entered into the spaces allotted. The reason is clear when you answer the next across clue (on the same row, even). As an example, 17A: Punishes, should lead to the answer "disciplines." However, after reading 19A: Interrupt (CUTIN), you realize you take the IN out of "disciplines" to get DISCIPLES.

Impressive that the words that result from removing the indicated letters are all acceptable crossword puzzle answers in their own right. Thus SPORTED (from "supported"), HOMEICE (from "home office," a timely answer nowadays), and FLING (from "flouted"). Also nice that each of the phrases that tell you to remove specific letters use different synonyms for removal, like SCRUBUP or STRIKEOUT. Very nicely done!

I found this harder going than it might have been because I often work my way down the left side of the grid, and this is where all of the confusing answers were. The first point where I realized that there were clues in the right half of the grid which might help me out came at 48A and 50A. I actually got it at 64A and 66A, then worked my way back up.


Some fun clues today:

10A: Something to sleep on with no springs (WATERBED) - and hopefully no leaks.

63A: One of the pounds in a pound cake (EGGS) - the others are flour, sugar, and butter.

22D: It's said to be "the art of recognizing when to be big and when not to belittle" (TACT) - excellent!

I could do without Holy Roman Emperor [name followed by roman numeral] - in this case OTTOII. He ruled for a total of 10 years before dying of malaria at the age of 28. Hard to see how this justifies his being in the NYT crossword puzzle, but sometimes you just have to make do.

On the other hand, Frederik POHL was an author I very much enjoyed as a child. Perhaps as a 50s, 60s, and 70s era Sci-Fi author, he too is dated. But it's my review today, so my opinion is the one that matters.

- Colum


  1. Very good puzzle, I think. And, like you, I really appreciate the way the shortened answers are actual words. The clues are wonderful. And I didn't know that pound cake was literally made from pounds of ingredients!

  2. OK, fine, I accept that it is RAISINET and not RAISINETte. I mean, the latter doesn't even fit in today's grid. And it wouldn't even work to CUTIN because raisette isn't a crossword answer. Oh and no one has (that I know of) made a candy called a raisinette spelled that way. I mean, I wouldn't try to remake the world this way. Nothing wrong with the official spelling. It would be pretty of me to wish it were spelled raisnette.

  3. LOL. Nice comment, Jim. :) I've always been annoyed by the spelling of JIF peanut butter. What are they even trying to do with that? I only buy the non-controversially-spelled Teddy peanut butter now.