03.30.07 -- BUSH MUSH BUSH

David Quarfoot’s construction is a thick meek messy mass of a puzzle bracketed at the top and bottom with George (after the King and Washington) III’s infamous lie READMYLIPS NONEWTAXES. The disparity of clues and answers in between are a farrago of fill with nothing relating to anything else -- RESTDAY, EDMEESE and ADONAIS share a corner; OTHELLO, THERITZ and HOMEBOY another; BATCAVE, ETERNAL and SILENTK occupy a bunker in the lower left, with DEEPSIX, EPISODE and SALINES finishing off the mishmash. The closest the puzzle comes to symmetry is the asymmetrical placement of two screechers whose names begin with the letter Y.
Is the BATCAVE really “Robin’s place”? -- I had the impression he just hung out there! Hey, OTHELLO is a leftover from yesterday’s puzzle, and HOLYPERSON is clued as “Cardinal, e.g.", oh come on! Such uninspired standard entries as DEAD, TENET, IRIS, STUD, ALTO, ROAM, TEL, CREE, ANNA, VATS, PEW, EPA, ACTI, RAT, ORO, SERB, MERE, MEET, AHEM, OTHO crowd together, while BESTBUY, DENTYNE and PEPSI get free commercials and crusty Republicans LOTT, EDMEESE, Dole, Nixon and Reagan dance in the same maze as LOLITAS, a VEIL and a TEACOZY -- where was George the IV? -- TGIF!


Anonymous said...

It's a THEMELESS puzzle, like most Friday Times puzzles. Nothing's SUPPOSED to be related to anything else. (The minitheme of the Bush quotes are merely a nice bonus.) The empty grid is perfectly symmetrical.

Also, the quote's NONEWTAXES, not NOMORETAXES.

DONALD said...

Rex Parker ascribes a "theme" to this puzzle in his blog, so perhaps all Fridays are not "themeless" -- in that case he has us both by the tail. Don't know what an "empty grid" being "perfectly symmetrical" is supposed to mean over one that's filled in with the answers.

Thanks for the correction of the typo -- it's fixed! Guess it was wishful thinking on my part!

Orange said...

A themeless puzzle is not supposed to have symmetrically placed related entries. The grid is symmetrical, but the fill isn't going to be (with the occasional exception of a two-entry minitheme).

I think Rex is just playing around when he ascribes a theme to a themeless puzzle. (Constructors sometimes throw in a few related things on purpose, and sometimes solvers make connections the constructor never intended.) I'll bet less than 10% of Friday and Saturday New York Times xwords have any sort of theme or gimmick. Themes generally contain a minimum of 39 squares (e.g., three 13s or a 15 plus two 12s), but more often the theme square count is in the 40s, 50s, or 60s.

Which is a roundabout way of saying it's unfair to criticize a themeless puzzle for containing "a farrago of fill with nothing relating to anything else." Exactly what themeless puzzles are supposed to have!

DONALD said...


Last year sometime there was a construction which broke all the "rules" on purpose -- I can't recall exactly when it appeared -- it was fun!

Perhaps "anonymous" misunderstood my meaning when I wrote "The closest the puzzle comes to symmetry is the asymmetrical placement of two screechers whose names begin with the letter Y."

The references to "symmetry" and "asymmetrical" were to the compilation of words, not the grid. I'll use something else in the future to avoid confusion -- perhaps "harmony" and "lopsided".

YMA was quite the talent, she could go from a growl to the sound of bird when she sang, and that was her forte! YOKOONO on the other hand, well...

Look forward to your book in July!