Sunday, March 5, 2023

Sunday, March 5, 2023, John-Clark Levin


Good morning everyone! I've been challenged by my honorable co-blogger to solve quickly and post early. Fortunately, I've got two little canine friends who insist on getting a walk by a certain hour, which gives me time on this Sunday morning to follow through.

As I was solving today's puzzle, I was bewildered by the letters in the shaded spaces. They weren't words in their own right, nor did they seem likely to be anagrammable in any useful way. I resigned myself to working all the way to the bottom, where the revealer would make all of it make sense. 

And indeed it did, in a most unexpected way! 102A: Vegetarian options ... or what the shaded letters in this puzzle are, phonetically (MEATSUBSTITUTES). I didn't expect phonetics, and the first one is particularly surprising. In order, the meats that are substituted are "goat," "duck," "pork," "beef," "bacon," and "lamb." And let me tell you, I am planning on eating some "bakein" later on this morning, only not the fake kind.

SARA Bareilles

Solving this puzzle moved very quickly (unlike yesterday's), but there are some lovely clues and answers here.

8A: They take bows (ARCHERS) and 41A: They can make a huge impact (ASTEROIDS) are examples of the kind of non-QMC I'm particularly fond of. No need to alert the solver that there's something off about the clue - just leave it out there. On the other hand, 67A: One vs 52? (SOLITAIRE) is a very clever clue indeed. 

How about 111A: They may be long and shocking (EELS) - Hah! Great way to spice up a standard crossword answer.

I also liked the pair of adjacent long answers on the west and east side of the grid: OUTOFORDER and SCAREDYCAT, and HOWDAREYOU and ATLONGLAST. Such fun answers.

Fun Sunday. Solved in nearly the exact same amount of time as yesterday's (10:16).

- Colum


  1. Having had my own helping of BAKEIN this morning....not a difficult offering for a Sunday - a rare sub-10 minute solve. Like you, Colum, I got through the whole puzzle before divining the theme. SARA is one of those answers which require full cooperation from the crossers. I thought this was a tidy, fun crossword with an inventive twist!

    1. You should really listen to some Sara Bareilles music! I really enjoy it. She also wrote the music for the Broadway musical Waitress.

  2. I enjoyed the fill a lot. And the clues are terrific, like the one for SERENA [Star close to Venus?]

    1. Hi Kelly! Yes, I thought about including that one in the review also.