Thursday, April 27, 2023

Thursday, April 27, 2023, Michael Schlossberg

There is little I look forward to in a week more than opening the Thursday NYT puzzle and seeing what craziness awaits me. Perhaps this says something more about my and my life than it says about the puzzle, but we'll let it pass, as Jack Point says in The Yeomen of the Guard.

Mr. Schlossberg gives us a delightful concoction of literal representations of sayings which take advantage of the border function of your spreadsheet app. I used to love this function! Click on the border you want and you can make it go away, or make it bolder. Again, does this say something about me? Let it pass, I say!

Our examples include DOCTORS[WITHOUTBORDERS], [NOEND]INSIGHT, [UNDIVIDED]ATTENTION, [BASELESS]ACCUSATIONS, and [TOPLESS]DANCERS. Fun stuff, with the appropriately missing dividing lines for each one. As a bonus, we get the grid-spanning 37A: Alleviates pain a little ... or what this puzzle does to certain squares for literal effect (TAKESTHEEDGEOFF). That's a really well-done theme, in my mind, particularly as just about every combination of altered borders is used.


ANA De Armas

If I were to make any constructive criticism (see what I did there?) it would be that the puzzle plays like multiple mini-crosswords because of the segmentation of the grid. Look for example at that section in the middle bottom. So little connection means that you're not flowing through the solve. I think our constructor did a good job minimizing junk, but we definitely see a fair amount of ANO BYU TCM stuff.

But no EGRET needed. It's a fun puzzle, and worth the 5:54 solving time spent.

- Colum


  1. Easiest Thursday I can remember solving! Which made if a fun time for me. Also appreciated the cluing effort in the fill, e.g., learning about the trout-filled IDAHO, and the fact that BYU has a campus in Jerusalem.

  2. I like this theme but it is a bit hard to pull off well in this digital age. In the official NY Times app, at the default zoom level it seems OK but as I zoom in the lines start to appear where they shouldn't. I ended up working backwards from the answers to where the lines must be missing, at least to some extent. Oh well at least I had this blog to help clue me in, especially for "no end in sight".