W: So once again Angela and I tried our hand at the Thursday NYT crossword, and we had a pretty good go at it….well, until the final corner that is. But for now I’m only talking about the happy stuff! For starters, we are proud to announce that we actually, for once in our lives, figured out the puzzle’s theme within the first few minutes of solving! It all started with 11-across “Light lunch choice” – we already had the S in place from Yosemite SAM, so my brain immediately thought “Salad” ….probably thanks to the monstrous leafy creations I used to make daily at the dining hall. But something was amiss. We could only fit SAL into the space available. Enter, Angela with the puzzle-cracking theme insight…
A: Wait wait, I’m pretty sure you figured out that “AD” was missing from the two words in the upper right corner, which frankly I was impressed by. Figuring out that type of thing took me a lot of time before I felt comfortable with multiple letters in a box. As someone said to me when I tried to promote the fine art of crosswording: “Is that the sort of thing that people who are good at crosswords do because they get bored by normal crosswords?”, which is maybe true, but in any case is something to watch out for in Thursdays. Knowing that might be part of the theme, I took advice from our dear pal Jeffrey to heart, and scanned through the puzzle clues for something that would reveal itself. Fortunately the theme revealer was straightforward and I confidently told Will to install the AD BLOCK.
W: Once the theme was cracked, the rest of the puzzle fell into place nicely for us. I, for one, am loving New York Times continue to lead the charge in the EMO-renaissance. Plus, the more supporters we can muster up in the fight against MANSPREAD-ers, the better. Those were probably my two faves of the grid – which we *thought* we had completed just a few ticks past 19-minutes, an excellent Thursday time for your two favorite solvers. But, as you can tell, we thought wrong.
A: We got stumped in the bottom right corner with spelling AREOLA, which is a word I did not know the definition of and do not recommend you search at work. And then we had SEMINAR instead of WEBINAR because gosh darn, I didn’t go to my seminar classes! Attendance? Only required if you’re getting a grade on it. Actually, Will can attest to the time I skipped my graduate sociology seminar class to rake and maintain a gigantic leaf pile in the middle of campus. This was a worthwhile tradeoff, but I did have to dive into the pile and hide when my professor strolled by after I blew off his weekly 3-hour class. (Sorry mom, I know you read this blog.) Anyway, that stumped us and we started feeling utterly at a loss with the incorrect MOS and (AD)EMS, but having no idea what to put instead.
W: Yea, things did get a little desperate as the minutes kept slipping away. We did follow the Lollapuzzoola example of “google tickets” – a practice I have long-followed but now feel safe to openly admit. Our googling isn’t ever anything clue related. It’s usually more reserved to things like, “Wait, is MEGAMAN actually blue?” or “Does FT. SUMTER have a P or nah?” I also may have used my google machine to figure out what the hell a BMOC was too, once we were sure it was right. But hey! If it’s fair game at the crossword tournament, then it’s gonna happen while skyping from my apartment too.
A: After much futile Googling, mostly confirming that all of our other clues were right, we made the WEBINAR breakthrough and finally fixed our errors. I didn’t realize (AD)AMS was referring to the presidents, and if you watch our video, you can see me coming to terms with my poor grasp of American history, live! I blame it on the confusing clue.
W: Overall, we had fun solving this puzzle. Our last ten minutes of struggle was pretty rough, but the theme was neat, some of the answers were cute, and there wasn’t anything tooo wack included amongst them. Goals for next time? Only have five minutes of confused, dead time at the end before we finish the puzzle. Oh yeah, and I think it’s high time we bought some kazoos and made a theme song for our videos – what’cha say, Angela?
A: Bzzz bz bz bz bz bz bz BZ! (That’s the NY Times crossword jingle via a kazoo.) I haven’t had a kazoo in my possession for years, so I’m looking forward to this first adult purchase. We’ll have to do some recording before our next video…
— Will and Angela