Sunday, April 14, 2024

Sunday, April 14 2024, John Rippe and Jeff Chen

Greetings Earthlings!  Seems like forever since my last contribution to this blog.  A lot of water under the bridge in the past while, including the ACPT a couple of weeks ago - which was fun, challenging, stressful, and - most of all - emotional, with a recovering Will Shortz taking the podium on all three days.  We are all very much rooting for you, Will!!  

Interesting puzzle today, with an unorthodox left-right symmetry and a square pattern that, if you squint, resembles a jet plane or perhaps a down-arrow, indicative of the direction in which our planet may be headed.  Which brings us to the theme.. though it's not apparent at first, there are seven pairs of Down clues, adjacent vertically, with the top and bottom clues labeled 'BEFORE:' and 'AFTER:' respectively.  The top "before" answers, legitimate in their own right, contain embedded (circled) letters, which spell out the names of animals; and the remaining letters are identical to the bottom "after" answers.  So what's the deal?   As indicated by 104A, 112A and 114A, the animals are all ENDANGERED SPECIES, and the puzzle is telling us what'll remain when they are gone.

I don't feel I've explained this very succinctly.  A couple of examples:  21D "Having physical form" (CORPOREAL) is followed by 75D "Target of a facial cleanser" (PORE) - yes, CORAL is a member of the animal kingdom.  16D "Theme park chain" (SEAWORLD) is followed by 64D "Slangy 'Amen'" (WORD) (but are SEALs really endangered?  Maybe some types of seal are?).  I dunno.  I didn't mind this, though it's a bit weird to have answers essentially repeated in the grid.  And  not that it's inappropriate at all, but what a gloomy theme! 

What else ...  I liked NACL for salt, and the excellent QMC "One on the links?" (ACE), which took me a while to twig to, even though it's Master's weekend.  Another clever one was CHINASHOP ("A bull market it is not!"  A TOENAIL is indeed a "tiny 'canvas' on which to paint" - nice one - and I just noticed "Scoff in Offenbach" (ACH) which is inventive indeed.

Nice cluing overall.  I'm going to go and think happy thoughts for the rest of the day, and I hope you do too!  See you tomorrow...



  1. I don’t understand the clue and answer for “one on the links”(ace)
    What does it mean?

    1. Hey Anonymous (if that's your *real* name, ha ha) - an "ace" is a golfing term for a hole in one...