Fireball Crosswords Review : “Double Trouble” (2017-09-21)
Constructed By: Paul Coulter
Edited By: Peter Gordon
Source: By Subscription Only: See page here.
Theme: Double Letter Move.
In each theme entry, a double letter is moved to another position to form another double letter pair.
- 17-A. [Show affection to honorees on Father’s Day?] – BUSS PAS. (from “Bus Pass”)
- 23-A. [Farm bundling device invented by philanthropist Andrew?] – MELLON BALER. (from “Melon Baller”)
- 37-A. [Cage for an Olympian?] – GOD COOP. (from “Good Cop”)
- 50-A. [Flat paints sold in metric volumes?] – LITER MATTES. (from “Litter Mates”)
- 62-A. [Put money on a Portland college?] – BET REED. (from “Beet Red”)
Glenn’s Time: 70 minutes.
Glenn’s Errors: 0.
(Quality) Rating: 3.5 stars/5 stars.
Fireball Crosswords is a by subscription-only crossword service provided by Peter Gordon, that features puzzles either constructed or edited by him. They often feature unique and creative things. However, the primary pitch is the difficulty as indicated on the website’s pitch: “The puzzles are hard. How hard? If you have to ask, too hard for you.” One will indeed find difficulty in these puzzles, often due to the cluing which is generally far more oblique than the norm, though not as difficult as some other examples people can find, such as the Newsday Saturday Stumper or some of the New York Times Friday or Saturday puzzles.
This puzzle provides a fairly good solve, albeit with some pedestrian entries. While locating theme entries that fit the particular rule must have been difficult, the results of the theme are a bit underwhelming from an entertainment standpoint. A fair number of the fill entries are interesting, but a fair number are a bit pedestrian, too. While a good solve, it’s hard to commend this grid as a stellar one.
Unfamiliar/Interesting Stuff To Me:
23-A. [Farm bundling device invented by philanthropist Andrew?] – MELLON BALER. Read about Andrew Mellon.
30-A. [1995 Jane Smiley novel set at an agricultural college] – MOO. The novel described.
36-A. [Extra month between June and July in the International Fixed Calendar] – SOL. I wasn’t aware of the International Fixed Calendar. This calendar is a proposal made in 1902 to change the calendar to 13 28-day months. The 13th month was named Sol and inserted between June and July.
41-A. [Scratchy, e.g.] – CAT. This would be Itchy & Scratchy as seen on the Simpsons.
24-D. [Vape] – E-CIG. Awkward, but true. The word is defined as a noun as well as a verb. “Vaping the vape.” is a valid sentence. Weird.
32-D. [Second-brightest stars in constellations] – BETAS. In the naming of stars, specifically the Bayer designation, stars that haven’t been given proper names (e.g. Polaris, Rigel), the constellation they belonged to as a possessive was prefixed by a Greek letter was used. For example, Beta Centauri. The order of the letters is dictated by the brightness of the star.
60-D. [Arctic explorer John] – RAE. John Rae was a 19th century Scottish explorer that explored northern Canada.
Until next time! Feedback about what to consider looking at or talking about, or questions (if I can answer them) are always welcome!