Thursday, April 6, 2023

Thursday, April 6, 2023, Sam Buttrey

So here's what I thought to myself when I got to the revealer, TRADINGPLACES (Classic 1983 comedy ... or a hint to what the answers to four pairs of starred clues are doing) - "1983 seems like a long time ago!" I just heard that the incoming class for colleges this year was mostly born in 2005. Yeesh. 


Anyway, the second thing I thought of when I saw the revealer is that the clues for one asterisked clue would swap with that of another asterisked clue. Which ones with which? That's for us to figure out. I was kind of hoping there would be some logic to it, but if there is, I didn't find it. Regardless, here are the pairs:

*Acronym of talks - BILL swaps with *Unwelcome bit of mail - TED
*Kind of wreath - HARDY swaps with *Able to endure difficult conditions - LAUREL
*Bank employee - PENN swaps with *Philadelphia university, familiarly - TELLER
*China problem - DALE swaps with *Hill's partner - CHIP

Is it just me, or does this seem like a totally random theme? I mean, couldn't they have just switched one more set? Or all of them? Where's the rhyme or reason?

Some cute C/APs include BATONS (Sticks around a race?), ROADRAGE (What you might think "The Fast and the Furious" is about?), and "Bird spotted in eastern Samoa?" (MOA). I love the addition of "eastern" in that clue, because it is only there to throw you off the scent. And for the record, it seems that the extinct MOA was native to New Zealand, but it also appears at the end of the word "Samoa.""Green movement" (PUTT) is also cute. And I enjoy grammar clues like "Something he or she can use that you can't?" (ISNT). Heh.

So some fun bits, but for the second day in a row, the theme didn't really do it for me. Luckily, we have (if the normal pattern continues) two themeless puzzles coming up!

- Horace


  1. Whew, this was a workout! I was so grateful when the movie filled itself in pretty much from the cross words. Then I spent far too much time looking for symmetrical answers when, of course, there weren't any. Also stubbornly held onto PATINA at 3D instead of the correct LAMINA. Still, I do appreciate the ingenuity of the theme and execution, and the clues are terrific.

  2. I was able to whip this off pretty fast for a Thursday for me (10:54), so there's that. Plus, I liked the eastern Samoa thing, what with MOA being on the eastern side of the word, like we like. The theme was OK, but I sussed it pretty quickly. Of course, it's LAUREL and HARDY up there, Horace, who were also OK; not really my cup of tea, although I did watch them when they'd appear, in reruns of course, during my youth. Don't be stubborn, Kelly; I put emu in confidently where MOA belongs but took it out lickety-split with the ORGAN cross, never looking back!