SATURDAY PUZZLE — I’m as soon as once more stating that there’s no disgrace in getting stymied, gobsmacked or blocked by a puzzle, particularly on a weekend and particularly from a professional constructor. That is Julian Lim’s ninth Saturday puzzle for The Instances and it was a significant problem for me. By some means all my weak spots converged into a tragic data hole and I actually couldn’t even get began on this grid for a few passes.
Simply me? If that’s the case, you’re a professional, too. There are 5 debuts, most of them tough (obscure, abbreviated or geographical); a number of terrifically dry pun zingers; and plenty of phrases that get hyperspecific, unique clues.
That final class refers to a whole lot of the fill, like ANTS, AD HOC, RURAL, DOW and SIGMA, widespread crossword phrases that had been clued in very unusual methods (I seemed up SIGMA as a monetary time period and three minutes later I had in some way invested in an organization that markets luxurious purses within the metaverse).
I additionally discovered that lots of the clues that had been so onerous to return by turned out to be ironic, just like the inspirational middle span. I used to be stumped way over I used to be misdirected, though I actually thought that SIFORKIDS may need been “ESPN 4 youngsters” (as a result of I utterly forgot about THE SHARD). These crossing entries are each debuts.
1A: Beginning out with a tricky one, eh, Mr. Lim? I considered a dowsing rod, a software (“instrument”) used to find (“divine”) the supply of underground springs and rivers. Enchanting, however so is a TAROT CARD, which divines your future to the identical diploma of precision that your dowsing rod tells you the place to dig your effectively. (This entry made me consider an infinite tarot backyard in Tuscany, designed and constructed by an artist, Niki de Saint Phalle, that’s on my rising checklist of locations to go to.)
42A: What a enjoyable clue once you get it! Your “spherical journey” is on a baseball area and it consists of 4 unoccupied bases: You’ve hit a SOLO HOMER. That jogs my memory of one other sports activities time period with a superb clue, TREY. I considered a “lengthy shot” as an unlikely occasion, not a basketball toss behind the three-point line.
51A: The web definition of “trolls” got here to me as quickly as I had just a few crosses for this entry — these are the creatures that normally provoke a FLAME WAR (I’m utterly unfamiliar with the crossing FRAG, as clued, as I’ve managed to keep away from partaking with trolls and that form of online game).
63A: Each Shakespeare play, and in reality most performs usually, are introduced in 5 acts, to construction the dramatic arc, a call that isn’t all the time dictated by the playwright. I feel that this clue’s not fairly proper, although, or I’m misreading it: The climax of a play is on the peak of the arc, which might be Act III, so ACT IV could be “preceded by” somewhat than the “preceder of” that climax. On one other notice, I did love the clue for LINES, talking of “stage units” (i.e., bunches of dramatic dialogue).
28D: Actually, this was my first lengthy entry, after positing Crystal GAYLE on the backside of the grid (I bear in mind the hair however not the musical style!) and ALAN ALDA on the high (I bear in mind him in that film however not the film itself). We had clear skies stuffed with stars in yesterday’s puzzle; at this time the celebs drift to the AFTERPARTY when it will get late.
39D: Title a songbird you wouldn’t wish to meet in a darkish alley with no pocket of thistle seed. This is among the few clues for which I had a hunch from the beginning, having heard references to the THRASHER, a chicken that warbles neat little tunes however makes a messy racket foraging for meals, thereby incomes its title. As with many birds, that reptilian eye can also be a bit onerous rock.