Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Wednesday, April 24, 2024, Jeffrey Martinovic

First off, what to heck is ABYSM?

According to Professor Google, it's a "literary or poetic term for abyss." I cry foul. I mean, MAXIMUs seemed odd at 46D (and it violates the theme, covered more in the next paragraph), but ABYSs also seemed more correct.

In any case, the theme of the puzzle is revealed at 62A: Feature of this puzzle's grid and the answers to the six starred clues (LATERALSYMMETRY). Which is to say, if you fold the grid in half down the line starting at 7D and ending at 64D, all the black squares would overlap. Also, all of the letters in the starred clues are symmetrical that way, which is why the theme answers are in the downs.

It's notable that the only vowel (including Y!) without that symmetry is E, fortunate for the constructor. Otherwise, he has H, M, T, W, and X to work with. Thus we get MAMMAMIA (all Ms), or MAXIMUM (Ms and an X). I like HOITYTOITY a lot, and MAUIHAWAII is a great find as well.

Michael Keaton looks so young

With all of this theme material, Mr. Martinovic is forced into some compromises (hello, "abysm"). WOAH is a stretch, and I don't love EWW or ELIE either. Note also ERM and UMS. When you have to clue two answers with "sound of hesitation," you know you've pushed the theme to the limit.

Once again, not much in the way of clever cluing. I'm looking forward to The Turn. But despite these little concerns, I find this puzzle interesting.

- Colum

1 comment:

  1. ABSYM, my hat! BCDEHIKOX, I think are what you'd have to work with if you wanted horizontal symmetry. Now THAT would be a challenge!