Thursday, February 16, 2023

Thursday, February 16, 2023, Kevin Patterson

I opened up the puzzle and immediately noticed the asymmetric nature of the grid, and all of those Ls. Boy, said I, I bet those will enter into the tricksiness of the Thursday puzzle!

Somehow, as I progressed in the solve, that thought fell by the wayside. And it's odd to have the revealer in the NW of the grid! It comes at 1D: Accept defeat, in modern parlance ... or a hint to entering five answers in this puzzle (TAKETHEL), which should be parsed as "take the L."

Thus, at 31D: Joint stockholders?, you answer by using the black L as a literal L, take the turn and complete the answer with 65A, to get POTDEA[L]ERS. The other four are GRAMMARPO[L]ICE, FOODCO[L]ORING, NAI[L]EDIT, and NUC[L]EAR.

Very nicely, the parts of the answers that come after the turn are answers in their own right, and are clued separately. I approve of avoiding the disappointing clue "-" that sometimes pop up. 

So, a fun and definitely tricksy theme. For those who are curious, I definitely thought the answers would take a turn, but not through the black squares. Then, when I came to 46D and had NUC in place from crossings, I thought, "is 'LEAR' meant to be hidden within the black squares?" And then I finally got it.

Cousin GREG

I love the clue for 4D, by the way. As we all know, it's "lying down on the job," not "laying down on the job." At least we all know now.

How fun is it to have BOWWOWWOW in the grid? So many Ws. And I had a "kitwo" moment at 38A: Flat, for short (TWOD). That's 2-D. Not Twod. Which isn't a word. LOWPH, on the other hand, is that type of personality that sticks out from the crowd. No. No it isn't. It's "low pH." 

Did you know that "angora" is actually from the city ANKARA? I did not. That's a ROI. I put in the former, and struggled because of it. 12:52 - a satisfyingly difficult puzzle.

- Colum


  1. Whew! I had almost all the squares filled in and *still* couldn't get the theme -- or finish the puzzle -- until I noticed the L-shaped blocks. I, too, had ANGORA for the longest time. (What's an ANKARA rabbit, cat, or goat?) Talk about a AHA moment when I saw the Ls...otherwise I would've had to TAKE one!

  2. I also joined the ANGORA club! Darn, this was fun. A satisfyingly long time in the "what the heck is going on" zone! Like you, Colum, I think it was NUC that finally twigged it for me. I liked OVA. AVICII ... ooo-kay ... thank goodness for the crossers. 7:07 ultimately, thanks to fixing up ANGORA relatively quickly..

  3. I only just finished Thursday’s puzzle today, but I didn’t understand the trick of it until I read the review. I’m ashamed to say that in all the time I spent looking at that grid - solve time was over an hour! - I never once noticed the L shapes in the grid. :( Also, I thought the expression was TAKETHELoss, so I was completely focussed on a rebus solution. I did get all of the theme answers, but I kept trying to see what the letters that wouldn’t fit had in common. However, since the Across answers worked without the “missing” letters, I decided to try leaving them out, and that worked, to my surprise.