Thursday, December 21, 2023

Thursday, December 21, 2023, David Steinberg

The constructor has cooked up a clever idea for today's theme answers. In three columns, words for fire are split and the two parts surround two other Down answers. The cluing for three answers corresponds to to the words surrounded by fire only. The fire fragments appear in highlighted squares and are referred to only by the revealer ("... fail spectacularly ... or what the answers to the starred clues do" or GODOWNIN FLAMES). For example, in one case, the BLA of 'blaze' starts at the top and the ZE appears in the last two squares of the same column. It's cool that the addition of the fire embers combined with the interior words make words themselves, but I could discern no particular reason for those specific interior words to go down in flames. As I'm looking at the puzzle now, it crosses my mind that the grid design is supposed to look like a fire. Is that correct? Also, would INFERTILE CHINO be a good band name? Asking for a friend.

Clever clueing caused this solver to choke on a few answers, including 1A: "Queue before Q" which I thought would be MNOP, but which turned out to be LGBT. "Brown in strips" was another good one. I was thinking along the lines of frying  bacon before I got a few crosses and I realized it was CHARLIE. "Squirt" for TOT and "Delivery site" for PORCH were nicely ambiguous clues. My favorite today, though, was "This might get the word out" (ERASER) - ha! It was great to see the word LAMBASTE ("Criticize harshly") in the grid, but "Socket inserts" (GLASSEYES) hurt my eyes.


I discussed the puzzle with Horace briefly. I mentioned that even with all I had heard about Taylor Swift's recent globe-spanning concerts, I had no idea what the name of her tour was. When I filled it in from the crosses, I parsed the answer, ERAS, as the Latin for "you were," which I thought seemed poetical and reflective. Horace set me straight. Another bit of crossword puzzle solving advice for our dear Readers: it pays to keep up with pop culture. 


1 comment:

  1. Hah! I am laughing again now at the "You Were" tour... :D. It makes me think that she should probably have an "Amo, amas, amat" tour.