Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Wednesday, January 17, 2024, Morton J. Mendelson

Although it's a Wednesday, this puzzle has a twist, or rather a turn. However, if there's a clue that reveals this puzzle's angle, I missed it. When I saw the first hyphen clue at 4D, and having no entry yet in 1A, I entered the word 'blank' as the answer. Ha. As I solved along, though, I began to see hyphens all over the place - well, not all over exactly, but in a number of Down clues. As it turned out, the hyphen clues were paired with Across clues and the answer was a two-word noun or phrase with the same last letter of the first word as the first letter in the second word. In the puzzle, the doubled letter shares a square rather than being entered twice. For example:

FAST                    PEP                STRIP
     R                       I                        O
     A                       L                        K
     C                       L                        E
     K                                                 R
After first drawing that blank, the rest of the solve went right along, thanks to solid and straightforward C/APs. There were a few tricks here and there, but for some reason, I wasn't fooled today. The hidden capital in "Potter's area of expertise" appeared to me as if by MAGIC, I read the amusing QMC "Pre-nursing homes?" and UTERI popped out (too much?), I struck gold with the clever clue "Expensive bar" for INGOT, and I even got the signal that "Silently acknowledge" should be NODAT. On the other hand, and I'm not sure why, but RHODE for "____ Island" took me completely by surprise. Maybe because it's not really an island? Why have I never thought of that before? Also in that corner, I had a minor ACPT PTSD moment at 65A: "Crash, with 'out'". Would the answer be konk or conk? Fortunately, in this case, unequivocal TACOS cleared things up. 
I very much enjoyed the W.C. Fields quote: I am free of all prejudices, I HATE everyone equally. I was also charmed by the slightly old-timey ASKAFTER. And, nice for KANGA to finally get a little screen time. I wonder if she could, would she rue the Roo who has completely upstaged her in puzzle land?


1 comment:

  1. 65A caused PTSD for me, as a similar clue appeared in one of the puzzles in the 2022 ACPT (looked it up! "Drop from exhaustion, with 'out'", in Puzzle #3), which I wrote in as CONK, but was actually ZONK, and cost me dearly in the rankings... I entered SLATE instead of SPLIT in 5A, which bogged me down...

    Great review as always, Frannie!