Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Thursday, February 22 2024, Dan Schoenholz

A brief word on my modus operandi on themed puzzles:  I generally disregard the theme clues as I go through the grid, letting them reveal themselves via the crossers, and by the end it's generally pretty clear what's going on.  (Very rarely do I use the theme as a direct aid to solving.)   Today, though, I reached completion with correct answers to the five starred clues but no idea why.  It took me a solid minute of inspection to reach a very satisfying "aha" moment.  In a nutshell - each theme clue is a word, which can be broken into two parts:  the first syllable, which sounds like a letter (e.g. 'CUE' representing the letter 'Q'), and the rest of the clue, which is also a word defining the answer - which begins with that starting letter.  To wit:

  • "Ensign" = "N" Sign = NOPARKING
  • "Emirate" = "M" Irate = MADASHELL
  • "Arbiter" = "R" Biter = RATTLER
  • "Depot" = "D" Pot = DUTCHOVEN
  • "Begin" = "B" Gin = BEEFEATER
I find this a weird construction but it really worked for me.  Who thinks of these things?!  Our esteemed setter community, is who.  Respect.

A pretty gentle puzzle for a Thursday, notwithstanding the above.  Right at the top, I thought of JAPE right away for "Practical joke" but left it blank until nearly the end because I couldn't think of a four-letter word for "Copacetic" starting with J.  But there is - it's JAKE.  "JAKE"?!  Sounds like some of that newfangled slang the kids use these days.  One other hiccup was with the fourth theme answer, for which I had ____HOVEN, so I guessed it had to be BEETHOVEN, and brief chaos ensued.   I liked AIRGUITAR ("It's never out of tune") and POORTASTE ("Anathema to an aesthete") side by side.  I bet aesthetes aren't all that fond of air guitar either.  

I think my favourite clue was VIBES, which one may indeed pick up when entering a room.  VIBES are also a really cool percussion instrument.  Speaking of which ... the STEELDRUM - "Staple of Trinidadian music".  Aah.  Puts me in mind of our Caribbean vacation, which starts in three days!!  

I'll try to stay focused for two more crosswords...


No comments:

Post a Comment