Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Wednesday, September 21, 2022, Matthew Stock

A rare grid with vertical symmetry, which makes sense when your theme answers are 13, 9, 11, and 7 letters long. You'll never get those into standard symmetry!

The revealer comes at 60A: Accept defeat, informally ... or what the last words of 19-, 24- and 49-Across do vis-à-vis the first (TAKEANL). Each of the other answers are standard phrases which rhyme, all due to the addition of an L as the second letter of the last word. Thus, FIGHTORFLIGHT, PAYTOPLAY, and BACKINBLACK. It's a tight-knit group, for sure, and I like that each of them uses a different connector word. Can anyone come up with other examples? "Fame or flame:" your options on auditioning for a big role?

A fun feature of this kind of construction is the freedom offered in the edges, where the theme answers don't force letters into place. See the four Xs in the SW, SE, and middle E segments. But Mr. Stock does very well with those places where two theme answers are close to each other. Putting SPUTNIK under the revealer is impressive: yes, there needs to be two foreign words and a governmental abbreviation to make it work, but they're all gettable.


, BOOMBOXES, and YOUGUYS are all great answers. I enjoyed the two different kinds of races, HEATS and SPRINTS.

And 15A: Two in a row? (OARS) made me chuckle. Tough get!

Fun Wednesday.

- Colum

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