Sunday, February 18, 2024

Sunday, February 18 2024, Sid Sivakumar

Hello readers!  A neat, multifaceted theme in today's puzzle.  A hint is provided at the outset, in the online version at least, in the form of a twisty green vine gravelling up the centre of the grid.  For me, it became clear early what was going on, with the revealer clue pair 13D/61D "Like some represented phonetically by each set of shaded squares?", which, with the help of a couple of crossing letters, was obviously HEARDTHROUGH/THEGRAPEVINE.  That's a lot of real-estate, basically for free, which was a big help in filling the rest of the grid.  And the theme itself - the three Down answers obscured by the vine turn out to be varieties of grape, and crossing these, as hinted, are five different homonyms of the type of info one would get through the grapevine, all embedded in longer clues:  ROOMER, TOCK, DIC, DERT and NUES.  I like that the HEARD part of the revealer is doing homophonic double duty here, and am especially fond of the third one, which gets its pronunciation from the answer it's embedded in (will leave it to you to discover what that is!).

This was shaping up to be a record Sunday for me, as I worked clockwise round the grid, starting in the NE corner.  A little trouble in the SW as I didn't know that Beaver Stadium was where PENNSTATE plays football.  And STAIRSTEP is clumsy.  Even clumsier than the recently-encountered ICESKATE.. And then in the middle, I had COMEIN, and then CMONIN, for "Well, don't wait out here!" before righting the ship with GOONIN (as indicated by the clue, now that I'm looking at it again).  The real trouble for me was in the upper left/middle.  I had SCENE as "Theater backdrop" on top of BARREL for "Port container" instead of SCRIM and CARAFE, which took me many minutes to unwind.  Didn't help that I'd never heard of HATERADE ("Boos-y drink?") and Olympic gymnast ALY Raisman.   However.  All good in the end.

Nice clues along the way - REEL for "Windy part of a kite" was neat.  "Seat in the London Stock Exchange" was another cute way to clue ARSE.  And I loved the factoid that a DIME is the only US coin that doesn't say how much it's worth.  That's what keeps us coming back, folks!


1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed the puzzle overall quite a bit, but because it seems a whine would be a more appropriate today, I'll just say I didn't love "Real pickle" for SNAFU or JARS for "Unnerves." I don't think I've heard of HATERADE either, but it is amusing. :)