Aries Puzzle – 26 March 2016

Let’s check in on this week’s Aries puzzle, dealing with THE FALL OF ROME. You can subscribe here, and then read on…

Aries 3 26

The Fall of Rome

Theme: The word ROME falls through the four vertical theme answers.

  • 3D: ROMESCO SAUCE – Spanish condiment made with tomatoes, red peppers, and almonds
  • 21D: DROMEDARY – One-humped desert camel
  • 26D: ALFA ROMEO – Maker of the Giulietta
  • 28D: GOOGLE CHROME – Browser launched in 2008

An easy puzzle from Andrew this week — I finished in NYT Tuesday time — but neatly executed. Notice how ROME is evenly spaced through the grid, in rows 1-4 on the first themer, 5-8 on the second, and so on. The grid has an extra row to accommodate the theme. I’ve seen this concept before, but it’s a good one and the execution here is smooth. GOOGLE CHROME is definitely my favourite themer, although ROMESCO SAUCE sounds delicious.

Really like the long fill — JACOB GRIMMSUSHI BAR (15A: Place to score mid-day rolls), ROYAL WE (46A: Blue I?) and BRA MODEL (73A: One endorsing feminine support?) are all strong. The last one sounds a little made-up to me, but the clue is nice. RELOCATE is a little plainer, but it’s fine.

The clues on Aries puzzles appear to have gotten harder since the last time I reviewed one of these. 32A: Meet-ups that may do some damage (COLLISIONS) had me fooled, and I liked the self-aware 38D: Movie pooch (not Asta, surprisingly) (BENJI). Also, 24D: [See above comment] is a cute way of cluing THIS.

On the minus side, 38A: Apt brew pairing with fish and chips? for BASS ALE felt like it was working too hard for the joke, and I’ve never heard of OPORTO, Portugal or AGIO, which appears to be an economic term. Not too bad a price to pay for otherwise clean NW and SE corners, but I definitely tripped on both.

Fun puzzle.

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