Thursday, May 11, 2023

Thursday, May 11, 2023, Sheldon Polonsky

I love this theme. In an odd turn of events, I read a book about black holes over the weekend and the equation EEQUALS[MC]SQUARED and many things EINST[MC]INIAN were discussed therein. I forgot today was trick puzzle Thursday until I reached the clue at 45D, "Video game whose working title was Micropolis," which I knew had to be SI[MC]ITY. When that didn't fit, I finally twigged to the rebus. The rebus is [MC] "squared." Both letters are used in the Down answers (as above), but they are used as an E in the Across answers - because E=MC^2. So fun! I think all the theme answers are good, but my favorite has to be AQUACAD[MC]S. Maybe the rebus squares feature quantum entanglement: when they are observed as Down answers, they manifest as MC, and then they Across letter is automatically E. Too much?

Illustration of a black hole

I was amused when, upon review, I saw how the clue at 1A ("Latin stars") could be interpreted more than one way, but when I was solving the puzzle, I didn't think twice about it and dropped in ASTRA. I'm not sure what the collective noun is for famous people from Latin countries, but if there's any order to this universe, whatever the correct word is, it's five letters long. Kicking off the grid with ASTRA and visually ending the puzzle with HUNTER ("Orion, for one") supplies some possible bonus material. We've got TITAN and LUNA in there, too, giving the whole thing a certain ELEGANCE

OTH, the grid gets a little SQMI around the middle (IAMS, SEG, AAA), but our sun is going to supernova one of these days anyway, so who cares? 

I finished with at time of 21:21, which, even though I know that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42, I still feel the number must have some cosmic significance, if only I can solve the equation. Maybe if I CUBIT?



  1. Yikes! 42 minutes for me, sheesh! Weird, because I didn't find the answers difficult at all...well, I didn't know MAD WOMAN, couldn't remember how to spell EINSTEIN, never mind EINSTEINIAN. But I thought I could just put all the Across Es in since they were supposed to "equal" the MC in the downs, but no, the puzzle app wouldn't give me the solve. So I spent time going back over the theme answers finally hitting on E/MC as the trick to get the congrats. That said, I appreciate the ELEGANCE of the grid.

  2. FWIW, I entered the MC rebus in all the squares without the E and I got the all clear in 12:43. And I like the entanglement idea: When looked at in the Across clue it manifests as E, and in the Downs it's MC. Finally, I understand quantum physics! :P