Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Thursday, January 25 2024, Sam Ezersky

Hello all!  I'm not as tuned in to the regular NYT crossword setters as my co-bloggers are, but I do know that when it's Sam Ezersky behind the wheel, I'm in for a devious treat; and this crossword was no exception.  He's managed to clue four long Across answers with almost the exact same phrase:
  • "Mercury is in this" : GLASSTHERMOMETER - elemental 
  • "Mercury might be in this" : RETROGRADE - planetary 
  • "The Mercury might be in this" : WNBAFINALS - basketball 
  • "Mercury was in this" : BOHEMIANRHAPSODY - Queen (this one is more of a stretch)
Really, really impressive cluing!

The layout today has a definite upper/lower half configuration.  I found the top half went by very quickly, but I got really bogged down toward the bottom, and it took me forever to finish.  (Was it just me?)  The very first clue was clever - "Three-point letter you won't find in Scrabble?".  I entered PSI immediately and felt quite smug about it.  (A EUREKA moment, perhaps?)   Elsewhere in the top, my only niggle was TECH for "Chips, cookies, etc."  I guess those are both techy terms, but this one didn't sit quite right with me.  

A different story down below.  I liked "Here we are!" (EARTH) - pithy and to the point.  But my troubles really centred around "Have no more in stock", for which I put RUNOUT instead of AREOUT, and those three wrong letters gummed up the whole works.  Even with that sorted out - I had to guess LARB Gai as a Thai dish, as the crossing DREYERS was unknown to me, an Easterner and a Canadian to boot, as an ice cream brand.  Luck carried the day on that one.  Oh also, I entered WECARE instead of WECARD for "Cautionary store sign from an alcohol retailer".  It would be nice if they did post "We Care" signs, though that might perhaps smack of disingenuousness.  And my final beef : ARSONS.  Pluralized?  Really??

But the theme was so wonderfully executed that I really can't have complaints.  Hats off to the setter today!



  1. Despite the theme, this was anything but a quick silver solve for me. I could only sigh over your ability to drop in PSI - that was my sticking point. I almost wish I hadn't solved 1D. Ugh. Not my cup of tea, if you will. I agree with you, Philbo, about both TECH and BOHEMIANRHAPSODY, although, at least with the latter, it must have been pure heaven to get that answer into the grid.

  2. Oh geez and I forgot to point out the unusual 16x15 grid! Had to be, to get BOHEMIANRHAPSODY in there :)