Thursday, December 29, 2022

Thursday, December 29, 2022, Rachel Fabi and Claire Rimkus

A nice trixy theme for today's puzzle. Understanding the trick came to me in two parts. I first noted the intrusion of LATE into some entries, and secondarily, I noticed the lack of LATE in other entries both of which, taken together, were caused by a LATESHIFT - moving LATE from one answer in a row to the other - with both modified answers still being common words. For example, "Makes the rounds" should be CIRCU[LATE]S, but we enter only CIRCUS at 24A, while the answer to the next clue in the row ("Large, flightless bird") is EMULATES. The LATE from CIRCUlateS shifts to the end of EMU. OVATION! The one that I had the most trouble with was the "Chilly" (COLLATED) /  "Fresh start, metaphorically" (CLEANSlate) pair. What seems obvious now - that the D of COLD comes after the interloping LATE seemed less obvious when looking at it in grid form. In that same vein - ORE is it? - I got TOAD from the crosses, but it took me a minute to correctly parse the clue so the answer made sense ("What might have bumps on a log?") - ha.

While there were a bunch of clues that were right in my wheelhouse such as "Hayek who portrayed Frida Kahlo" (SALMA), "George who wrote 'Romola'" (ELIOT), and "Hybrid beverage in a Bloody Caesar cocktail" (CLAMATO), I was lead down the garden path, as intended, by a number of clever clues today including "Easter starter?" (NOR), "Cry at la Copa Mondial" (GOL) - I started with the tried and true 'ole' - "Draped garment" (SARI) - I went with 'toga' at first - and "Big Sur runner beginning in 2020" (IMAC) - I was thinking sports, rather than computers.


Also of note today - the sets of paired clues - two chicken kings in the top middle (PERDUE and ALA), "For one" (EACH) followed by "For us" (OUR), "Camper's protection" (DEET) and Camper's detritus" (ASH), and the two "X" clues (CHI and TEN) to name a few. 

And that's not all. There were great C/APs throughout the grid. "Top, for instance, but not bottom" (TOY) is clever and "One in a 100" (SENATOR) is tough until you remember the answer. :) "Good name for a firefighter?" (BLAISE) is fun, as is "Something dingy" for BELL. And the C/AP "Lazily lie" for LOLL is lovely. Fill-wise, I enjoyed RETORTS, HOTHEAD, SCYTHE, and DABBLED.

Well, I better get this review published, I don't want to POSTULATE. 


1 comment:

  1. The question mark at 1A allowed me to drop NOR in off of the clue and I was off-and-running. It took me one second under 15 to finish this one, but it took about half that time to figure out what was going on. Once that happened, there was no problem with the rest of the fill. Except the GOL thing, which is Greek to me. Luckily, the crosses were fine, as they should be. Favorite answer: HOTHEAD; we all know one or two of those, no? POSTULATE - ha!