What a nice thing it is to come home to a blog with an e.a. themeless to solve and write about
Hi, it’s Lena– I’ll be continuing Erin’s faithful coverage of Glutton for Pun while she is taking some time to get to know the newest member of her family– congratulations to her and hers!
And congratulations to Erik for his recent Lollapuzzola 9 victory. He’s a humble guy– insanely fast and humble– so I’ll leave it at that, moving on to this week’s GFP puzzle: a chunky little themeless.
Right down the middle is the jaw-droppingly clued HIP TO BE SQUARE (which also happens to have been the subtitle of Lollapuzzoola 9). 7D: [News release that garnered a lot of attention in 1986]. Boom. No question mark, no wink, no nudge. As the bottom started to look like SQUARE, I thought it must be some kind of public protest/uprising a la Tienanmen or Tahrir. Nope, just an excuse to listen to Sports (wrong album but better album).
US VS THEM 25D: [Conflict we want to win] made me squirm as consonant after undeniably correct consonant kept coming. SVSTH— I love it. Also the clue/answer is total grammar porn.
I ended up getting weirdly confused by MAA 23A: [___ Tai (the goat version of 31-Across, probably]. Part of the problem is that I had only recently learned of the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) acronym, and then I saw this tweet before having seen the puzzle:
So I spent some time trying to Google “M.I.A. Tai”– because I was sure somebody must have already invented this– and it is completely impossible because typo’d versions of regular Mai Tai recipes come up, or it just autocorrects you to Mai Tai, or it thinks you mean another drink named “Tia Mia.” Basically there was so much stuff bouncing around in my head by the time I had MAA filled in, and I just stared at it like uhhhhhh and then oh. oh I see. Further complicating things was my inability to see MAGICIAN from [Saw someone?]– tough clue. Possibly the only tough clue that didn’t feel that satisfying. I’m still trying to figure out why– maybe because when I imagine someone with a saw it’s not a magician.
I liked [Slugger’s sashay] (36A) TROT because it made me look up the definition of “sashay.” Initially I was annoyed because I thought of a TROT as an easy gait and a sashay as a showy swishy modification of a gait– and I’ve never seen a ballplayer sashay by that definition.
We’re both right! Erik is very meticulous with his clues so if I’m feeling doubt about something being “right” it’s usually the case that I’ll come out having learned something rather than finding an inaccuracy.
ENABLER clue is fun (27A) [Person who doesn’t hold you back in life (but in a bad way)]. A little rambly but fun. [Put in a brown paper bag, say] for RIPEN is nice– gotta concentrate that ethylene.
Alright, I’m going to end this because I’m so late with it already and Erik just posted a NEW puzzle for us to solve!