Thursday, December 8, 2022

Thursday, December 8, 2022, Grant Thackray

Ahoy, mateys! For today's unusual theme, we take to the high seas with the depiction of a PIRATE in the grid. This scallywag has an eye patch - or should I say "i" patch? - in the form of a black square where the I in LONGJOHNS_LVER should be. The group of MAR_NERS coming across the bow also have an "i" patch. Maybe because it does double duty, it could be considered and aye-aye patch? The pirate's "hook hand" is formed by circled letters that make a J shape and that spell FLUSH, as in poker hand, I think?  And last but not least, for "'Come on, move it!'" the answer is SHAKEAPEG to give the pirate a PEG leg. 

The solve took me exactly 17 minutes. I almost had to walk the plank at the cross between "____ Kett" (old comic strip that taught teens manners) and "Country that lacks an official language, informally." Even though I had ET_A and maybe *because* I had confusing-looking _HEUS I was stymied. Once I realized that T marked the spot, however, both answers made so much sense and - and suddenly seemed so obvious - that I felt like a bit of an ASS. I hit one other trouble spot where I tried TAn for "Beauty that's only skin deep" but the answer was TAT

Electron microscope image of RIME ice on both ends of a "capped column" snowflake.

URBANE is solid gold fill. Other prizes included the C/APs "Beginning or end for Alexa?" (SCHWA), "You might see snow when it's disrupted" (TVSIGNAL), and "Bail, so to speak" (LEAVE). I also enjoyed SAID followed by PAID because of the divergent pronunciations for words that look so similar. 

So, while the theme was nautical what we're used to, there was plenty of treasure, not many spoils, and a good amount of theme material without going overboard. 


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