Wow! It’s August! But since it’s a Saturday, I’m doing puzzles from the archive. This one is from the end of March. Remember March? Remember how Coronavirus was just becoming a thing people were taking seriously? California shut down on March 17, stopping what otherwise would be fun drinking for St. Paddy’s Day.
So this March puzzle Abstract Attacks. Lots of A’s all around. Starts with 1A Pre-GPS travel aid: AAAMAP. It’s important to note that AAA still makes and prints maps, and the AAA maps are still cool to look at. I argue that they’re nice to have for planning because you get to see where things are relative to each other and not just exactly where you’re going.
But the clue that I like the most is 38A Amazonian biter PIRANHA. Like the majority of Americans, I always believed that the pronunciation is pih-RAWN-uh, and that was that. But piranhas are in Brazil. Where they speak Portuguese. Where hn is like the French gn which is like the Spanish ñ. So rather than pih-RAWN-uh, it’s pronounced pee-RAH-nya. Here it’s still the normal way, but there it’s the way that’s new to me.
So as I said in yesterday’s post, I do the Saturday NYT Crossword Puzzles with a group of friends, so I won’t be doing them here. Instead, I’m doing old WSJ puzzles to get the hang of how they’re written. This one is from Monday, July 6 of this year.
And it was pretty easy.
I keep having to change the settings to make it skip the squares that are filled in already, but that’s how it goes. The Wall Street Journal didn’t even have a crossword that wasn’t only on Thursdays until recently. If anyone wants to post comments to tell me exactly when that ended, please go right ahead.
I had to make some corrections to this puzzle as I continued through it. Originally I had FLINT as the answer to 9 Fire Starter, but it was SPARK instead. Fine. My answer wasn’t wrong, but it didn’t fit, so if that makes it wrong, it was wrong. Not gonna waste time arguing about that.
The clues and answers are very straightforward, and I don’t know exactly how I feel about that. Mostly unsatisfied, I guess. But Mondays are Mondays. Finished in 9:41.
Well, I started today’s real crossword and found that it was HUGE. I’m not going to do a Saturday puzzle the size of a Sunday puzzle from the New York Times. But I can do an old Monday puzzle from WSJ. So that’s what I did.
This one was even easier than the last one, so that’s kinda comforting. I finished in 7:52.
I’m getting the hang of WSJ Monday puzzles. But these really leave something to be desired.
I liked the Back Breaking theme with answers DOLPHIN SAFE and BRASS KNUCKLES, and the thing to do to both is to GET CRACKING. Good times. But the Austin Powers reference made me cringe. I remember seeing that movie with my parents and only understanding jokes in it later, without my folks giving me direct answers to my questions. How must they have felt when I asked? The film probably did not age well, but I’m in no hurry to relive the experience of watching it. I mean when I watched Singin’ in the Rain not too long ago with my fiancee, I said stuff like: “Dude, she doesn’t want to talk to you, so leave her alone!” Hot take: Gene Kelly’s character is kind of a creep.
It’s not ALL old movies that are bad and don’t hold up. Sure, there’s a gross underrepresentation of Black actors in the majority of films, but movies such as The Thin Man, Shall We Dance, and Duck Soup avoid being creepy accidentally–that is to say that Groucho Marx frequently plays a character you’d want to avoid in real life, and he plays that role wonderfully.