Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Wednesday, March 20 2024, E. M. Capassakis

An interesting theme in today's crossword, with which I struggled much more than usual for a Wednesday, failing ultimately due to a dreaded Natick - more on that later.  First - the theme!  Six Across clues consist of simple three-digit numbers, and it's the solver's task to figure out what the numbers refer to, as they're not really directly synonymous with their answers.  They make more sense if you implicitly add "..is the number for..." or "...is the number associated with..." after the numbers.  Like so:

  • 101 = INTROCLASS
  • 007 = BOND
  • 420 = CANNABIS (how common-knowledge is this, I wonder)
  • 666 = THEBEAST
  • 411 = INFO
  • 360 = FULLCIRCLE
This is unusual, somewhat oblique construction, and I found that I liked it!

As for the rest of the grid, there were a few serious trouble spots for me, especially in the NW and centre.  Starting with LEARN for "Be a sponge" - hey, plausible, but no, it's MOOCH - the resulting 5 adjacent wrong letters in the grid took forever to unwind, not helped by the fact that I'd never heard of PESACH (Seder holiday).  And my Spanish is nonexistent enough to not get CHICA for "NiƱa"... and leading into this is the double-Natick that brought me down - the best I could do was KIRIL not KAREL as the "Czech form of Charles", crossing NIMEA not NEMEA as the "Site of a Herculean feat". So - FWTE for me.

Sigh.  I'm sure all this whining about my failures makes for absolutely fascinating reading for y'all...on a more positive note, NUMB for "Really not feeling it?" was fun.  KIBOSH ("Full stop") is always a welcome word.  ALIAS was cleverly clued as "Smith or Jones, on occasion".  I like tightly coupled entries like JOHN and SEAN, which are clued simply as English and Irish versions of each other.

Overall, interesting and fun and, for me, tough for a midweek puzzle.   On to tomorrow!


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