Sunday, September 4, 2022


Well, well, well, now. Colum just mentioned Auntie Mame yesterday, and today's puzzle references Upson Downs. Coincidence? Hardly! Because it's a honey of a puzzle. Six ways of going up or down - ramp, hill, steps, slide, chute, and good ol' stairs - allow six long answers to circulate, darling, Circulate! 

I used to pour this stuff on pancakes.

It's really quite beautiful. Not only do six words slide up or down and finish in another answer, but those second answers all have their own clues, and work on their own! If you've read this blog for a while, you may have heard me complain about "dash" clues that are often used in situations like this, where one answer extends somehow into another. Well, this time they don't need the dashes! Now that I got what I want in that category, I wonder how it would have been to solve if the second answer didn't light up (when solving online) when you were on the first one, and if the connectors were not highlighted with circles. Then maybe we'd be edging toward "puzzle five" category. But it's Sunday, so it's friendly.

So the theme is lovely, but so is the fill! Sure, we've got a few names that could be considered NASTIES (LARY (N.F.L. Hall-of-Famer Yale ____), CRAMER ("Mad Money" host Jim), and ALFRE (Woodard of "Clemency")), but CREEP past those and GREET "Ball game that all players might lose" (ROULETTE), "They may be hidden behind paintings" (WALLSAFES), and "It's a banger in Germany" (BRATWURST). 

I think it tastes like soap in my food, but I like seeing CILANTRO in the puzzle. ROPEWORK is evocative, PUNKBANDS are colorful, and the triple-e BEEEATER was fun.

It was lovely, I say. 

- Horace


  1. Beautiful job by Tracy Gray -- I loved it. Tricky enough to boost the ol' ego, but accessible enough for a mediocre solver like me to feel satisfyingly accomplished. And I like that she didn't hem herself in with symmetrically placed "Ups & Downs" that might've hampered the fill...or made the construction impossible. Really nice work.

  2. I thought the second answer lighting up gave away too much. I suppose maybe keep the circles though? If you didn't have them I think you might need the dashed clues or some other mechanic, even in a puzzle 5. Not that I usually get puzzle 5 when I do go to the tournament, so I suppose you shouldn't ask me.