Thursday, August 24, 2023

Thursday, August 24, 2023, Robin Yu

Welp, Thursday is wildcard day, and we've got an odd one today. Three squares in each corner are taken up by a big arrow. It's pretty easy to assume that the arrow changes the direction of a clue, but what isn't so obvious, even after you (or, I, at least) have the revealer figured out, is what ROLLINGBLACKOUT (Temporary controlled power shutdown ... or a hint to reading four of this puzzle's answers) actually means. It is, of course, to be taken literally. The arrow not only changes the direction, but also represents the word "out," as in "Activities that relieve psychological stress" (EMOTIONAL[OUT]LETS) and "Carried away by the tide" (SWEPT[OUT]TOSEA). 

In the top, I had guessed AVer for "Openly proclaim" (AVOW), and then I guessed that 20A might end with an "er." So when I got more of the answer to 2D "Suddenly fell through, as a plan," I had WENT[OUT]THEWINDer, and I wondered if the theme might be something about vernacular speech ... [eyeroll]. 

ADA Limón

I always love a little deep French in the fill, and today we've got "Je pense, DONC je suis" by Descartes. (Picture DeGaulle in his KEPI saying that.) And speaking of things foreign, I will be heading off to GLOBETROT soon, although we will not be staying in anything close to an ECOHOTEL. I would, really, but the whole global warming thing is a DONEDEAL. It's over. Might as well keep scraping TAR sands off the tundra to get that black ORO to race your HOTROD. ISPY the end of the road up ahead.

Wait, that's too dark for a simple puzzle review. Let's call out a couple things like IDED and ASHIER as less than TOTO TOP (Although the clue "Pale in comparison?" was cute for the latter), and then call out "Key worker?" (PIANOTUNER) and "When one might show one's age, informally" (BDAY) as UBER clever. And "House of reps?" for GYM - ACE!

I'm not sure how I feel about taking up real estate (or should I say AREA) for the arrows, but the three squares are still represented by three letters, so I guess it's all good. In any event, it's something new, and a change is better than a rest, right?

Happy Thursday, all.

- Horace

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