Sunday, 6/10/12

NYT 9:10 
LAT 13:06 (Jeffrey) 
Reagle 8:13 
Hex/Hook 9:56 (pannonica) 
WaPo Doug – untimed 
CS 6:35 (Sam) 

Xan Vongsathorn’s New York Times crossword, “Getting Around”

NYT crossword solution, 6 10 12 "Getting Around"

Really a neat theme, with a 19-letter kicker across the middle. The theme entries are nine two-word phrases that include a word that connotes encircling something, and the other word is circled in a more literal/visual rendering of the phrase:

  • 23a. In GIFT-WRAPPED, the word GIFT is “wrapped.”
  • 25a. For INNER TUBE, the word TUBE is “inner.”
  • 47a. Baseballese INSIDE FASTBALL puts FASTBALL inside circles.
  • 51a. SELF-CONTAINED, self contained.
  • 66a. Crazy NINE-BANDED ARMADILLO as each of ARMADILLO’s 9 letters inside its own band. I wonder if this was Xan’s seed entry.
  • 86a. The RINGED PLANETS are indeed ringed.
  • 90a. Those INTERNAL ORGANS are internal.
  • 113a. BUBBLED UP has put the word UP in bubbles.
  • 116a. And to sum it all up (bringing things full circle), GO in this entry and the circled words in the other theme answers all GO IN CIRCLES.

Looking at these theme answers, none of them are making me grouse “that’s not really in the language” or “this one is inconsistent” or “that one doesn’t work as well as the others.” 66a is a little bit of an outlier, but it’s basically going to a crazy extreme rather than being a clumsy attempt. The theme’s got a bit of that “puzzle within a puzzle” game to it—you work on the circled part of the answer and try to get the other word by thinking of words that connote interiorness.

Tough 1-Across. St. ANSELM is the [Benedictine monk who founded Scholasticism]. That’s parked on top of 19a: [Lunchtime errand], or NOONER. According to the New Oxford American Dictionary folks, a NOONER is a midday event, particularly sexual intercourse. “Honey, I’ll be back in an hour or so. Just need to run some errands over lunch.” The clue’s “errand” kept me from going with NOONER here, and then I got distracted by conversation with my husband instead of, you know, just moving to another section of the puzzle to make headway. Slowish solve. Oh! And I had PARIS for the 3d: [World capital that's also a girl's name]. SOFIA! I thought it was a sly clue because Paris is unisex. That Paris Hilton, always causing trouble.

The fill’s pretty good overall. 16d: VOUCHSAFE is a word I think I have never had occasion to use. HOT DOG BUN crosses a Homerian “WOO-HOO!” “MR. ROBOTO” is a sop to my teenage self, and how can I not like LIKE LIKE? As in “Do you like Dylan, like, as a friend, or do you, like, like like him?” It’s not so much that the puzzle’s got a zillion cool non-theme answers to point out, just that there’s no obvious concentration of junk fill either.

Favorite clue: 86d: [Parks with no intention of moving] for ROSA Parks. Well played, capital P, well played.

4.5 stars.

Henry Hook’s Sunday crossword, “Branching Out” — pannonica’s review

Hex/Hook • 6/10/12 • "Branching Out" • Hook• solution

As astute readers may have noticed, I was less than thrilled by the Warren Buffett quote as the theme of this past Friday’s Wall Street Journal offering, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that I was underwhelmed by this likeminded specimen.

  • 102a. [Speaker of the quote] WARREN BUFFETT.

  • 22a. [Start of a quote] SOMEONE’S SITTING IN
  • 27a, 58a, 65a, 70a, 108a: THE SHADE TODAY | BECAUSE | SOMEONE | | PLANTED | A TREE A LONG TIME AGO.

Wow. I may respect the guy’s success and his stance on the lax taxation of the wealthiest in this country, but—at least judging by these two examples of his wisdom—what platitudinous tripe he comes out with! It isn’t even charmingly folksy.

The WSJ puzzle quote was 80 characters long, with an additional 26 for Buffet’s name and nickname; this one is a relatively skimpier 68 letters, plus 13. On the other hand, constructor Hook arranges his quote very differently, with extreme overlaps. Ten letters for the polar binaries, and the three seven-letter words forming a stepped node in the center. Quite spiffy!

Moving on to the… wait for it… athematic matériel, it’s quite good but doesn’t strain too far, with a low percentage of longer fill. Among the best are indeed the lengthiest: 11d [Free from blame] VINDICATE, with the ambiguous “free”—noun or verb?; 75d [Lying down] RECUMBENT (not RECLINING, as I had for a while); also floating around are LOBSTERS, CAROUSEL, GRANULES, TOP-HEAVY, and the deliciously Scrabbly SQUEAKY vertical in the center. The triple-seven stacks on the flanks are less than captivating: LOCATED | ACADEMY | SCRAPES, and ABILENE | DESIREE | DRESSER.

Looking back on the grid, it seems to have a fairly high CAP™ Quotient, but I didn’t notice that so much as I was solving. Yet there’s plenty of fill like ARM OF, EXOD., ADM., MCS, A LOSS, OCC., DYS-, ONEIR-. There’s also less-than-common foreign stuff: CEARA [State in Northern Brazil] and CIE. [Co., in Cannes]. And that’s just in the acrosses.

Other:

  • Nice how 116a [Soft balls] NERFS echoes 16d [Softball] EASY ONE. Unfortunately, less nice that 16d follows 15d [At ease] RELAXED, which is otherwise a fine clue.
  • 44d TWO LB?? Really? Really icky.
  • Hm. I just spun through all of the clues and answers, and nothing else struck me as exceptionally good or bad. Sure, I could pick on some of the lesser stuff, more CAPpiness, slightly “off”-feeling clues, and so on, but I’d feel as if I were kicking the poor thing when I’ve got it down.

So, in sum: blah theme plus mostly mediocre ballast with but a few highlights equals a subpar crossword.

Mike Shenk’s Washington Post crossword, “The Post Puzzler No. 114″ – Doug’s review

Mike Shenk's Washington Post solution 6/10/12, "The Post Puzzler No. 114"

Hey, crossword fans. Doug here. I’m getting a late start today, so this’ll be short and sweet.

Not a particularly flashy grid, but it’s solid. I especially like the lower left corner with its DOODADS and SOY LATTE.

  • 56a. [It's a mix of 350 Hz and 440 Hz in the United States] - DIAL TONE. Interesting clue. You realize, of course, there are youngsters among us who’ve never heard a dial tone. Here are some other Sounds That Your Kids Have Probably Never Heard.
  • 49a. [World leader who wrote the play "The Sound of the People Victorious"] - U NU. That’d be U Nu, first Prime Minister of Burma. Wikipedia tells us that “the play The Sound of the People Victorious that U Nu wrote while he was Prime Minister is about the havoc that Communist ideologies can wreak in a family. It later became a popular comic book in Burma, was translated into English, and made into a feature film at the height of the Cold War in the 1950s.”
  • 50a. [Creator of Sam and Nick] - DASHIELL. Sam Spade and Nick Charles. Johnny Depp’s supposed to play Nick Charles in a remake of The Thin Man. If nothing else, we’ll get a few new ASTA clues out of it.
  • 55a. [Plant famous for thriving in a rock-filled environment?] - ROBERT. Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. Clue of the Day.
  • 10d. [1940s chief justice Harlan ___ Stone] - FISKE. Were any of you smart enough to fill in this one without any crossers? He was the only justice appointed by Calvin Coolidge.
  • 34d. [1949 film in which Mr. and Mrs. Bonner are opposing counsel] - ADAM’S RIB . This puzzle has a lot of old-timey references, doesn’t it? That’s cool. It’ll make those never-heard-a-dial-tone young whippersnappers work a little bit!

Have a nice Sunday. I’m outta here.

John Lampkin’s Los Angeles Times crossword, “Baby Talk” – Jeffrey’s review

Los Angeles Times crossword solution Sun Jun 10 2012

Theme: Regular phrases with one word replaced with how a baby might say it.

Theme answers:

  • 23A. [Kissing game?] – SPIN THE BABA (Spin the bottle)
  • 44A. [Thing sliding down an aisle?] – BRIDAL CHOO CHOO (Bridal train)
  • 68A. [Popular party appetizers?] – PIGGIES IN BLANKIES (Pigs in blankets)
  • 91A. [Dire circumstance, idiomatically?] – HELL OR HIGH WAWA (Hell or high water)
  • 118A. ["Ego Trippin'" rapper?] – SNOOP BOW WOW (Snoop Dogg, coming soon to Victoria)
  • 26D. [Waistline concern?] – WUV HANDLES (Love handles)
  • 64D. [Romantic night out?] – DIN DIN DATE (Dinner date)

Pretty cutsie-wootsie stuff.

Other stuff:

  • 20A. [Anderson who sang with Ellington] – IVIE
  • 28A. [Turner of records] – TINA
  • 29A. ["__ a Lady"] – SHE’S
  • 57A. [Brooks of comedy] – MEL. 15 – 10 Commandments
  • 89A. [Animation pioneer] – DISNEY

In 1928, Walt Disney lost the rights to his most popular creation, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. He nearly quit animation, but on a train ride home, he came up with Mickey Mouse. In 2006, the rights to Oswald were returned to the Walt Disney Company in exchange for sportscaster Al Michaels [true story].

  • 32D. [String quartet member] – CELLO. No reference to 96D?
  • 77D. ["__ Is Born"] – A STAR
  • 96D. [Musician with a 1712 Stradivarius] – YO YO MA
  • 101D. [R&B's __ Brothers] – ISLEY

The Fiend is starting its summer schedule so I will only be on Sundays from now on. Classic “Jeffrey’s Best” reviews will appear Monday and Wednesday, so you can relive the magic.

Updated Sunday morning:

Martin Ashwood-Smith’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Sunday Challenge” – Sam Donaldson’s review

CS solution, June 10

Coming to theaters this summer: Return of the Quad-Stack! From the constructor who brought you countless triple stacks (for beginners, that’s three 15-letter entries stacked one on top of another) comes a grid with a quad-stack up top!

Let’s start with the stack, because that’s clearly the major feature of this grid (well, that and the atypical left-right symmetry instead of the traditional rotational symmetry). I liked three of the four entries in the stack. AFTER-DINNER MINT, the [Complimentary restaurant item], is an awesome way to start the puzzle. ROTISSERIE GRILL and AS OFTEN AS NEEDED are terrific too. But … DOO DOO DOO DOO DOO, the [1973 Rolling Stone hit substitled "Heartbreaker"]? Since I’m not familiar with it, my reaction to the entry was “Meh.” It looks kind of lazy to me. But I think if I knew the song, I would be singing a much different tune. So I think my tepid reaction to that answer is my fault, not that of the puzzle.

And let’s not forget: it’s a quad-stack for Pete’s sake! The Downs made from the stack are all legit–in fact, some of them lead to some really nice longer Downs like IDENTICAL TWINS, NOISE POLLUTION, and MORE AND MORE. It can’t be easy to make a quad-stack with uniformly clean crossings, so I really admire this one.

Interestingly, the iffy stuff in the grid comes not in the Downs made by the quad-stack but in the entries appearing beneath it. There’s a veritable rogues gallery of scowl-inducing stuff there: IEST, MAN A, A LULL, SLA, OR I, INE, NSW, and ORELS. Um, eww. Anytime you have to use the plural of a given name that has only one famous example, you’re in trouble. ENYAS anyone?

What do you think of NACHO CHIP? As a snack food, tortilla chips are unrivaled. But as crossword fill, I’m not sold. You can make nachos with tortilla chips, and you can refer to the corn-based goodies simply as “chips.” But does anyone call them “nacho chips?”

Time for a crossword Rorschach test: what are the black squares representing? I see an apple tree with two apples falling to the ground. Or is it a butterfly?

Favorite entry = LEAF-EATING, [Like many plant pests]. Favorite clue = [Old Chevy vehicle, briefly] for SNL. (Saturday Night Live, or SNL, was once a vehicle for comedian Chevy Chase.) I fell so deeply into that trap that I thought for sure the clue was an error! Oddly, I love those kind of traps.

Merl Reagle’s syndicated crossword, “Bawl Game”

Merl Reagle crossword solution, 6 10 12 "Bawl Game"

The game here is to hew to Tom Hanks’ character’s admonition in A League of Their Own: THERE’S NO CRYING / IN BASEBALL. All the other theme answers relate to baseball but have had a “WA!” removed. This makes for a plethora of impossible-looking, “that can’t be right” answers:

  • 22a. SULTANOFST, [Babe Ruth nickname]. Sultan of Swat.
  • 28a. MILUKEEBREWERS, [They play near Lake Michigan]. Milwaukee Brewers. The Chicago Cubs play a lot closer to the lake. If the wind is “blowing in,” that means winds of Lake Michigan keep players from hitting homers at Wrigley Field. Does Miller Park get lake winds that affect play too?
  • 35a. DEBOGGS, [Ex-Boston/New York/Tampa player with over 3,000 hits]. Wade Boggs.
  • 38a. FENYPARK, [Baseball venue that turned 100 years old this year]. Fenway Park.
  • 53a. HONUSGNER, [One of his 1909 baseball cards sold for $2.8 million]. Honus Wagner.
  • 56a. LKEDINARUN, [Committed a pitcher's no-no]. Walked in a run.
  • 66a. HEREALLYLLOPEDTHATONE, [Announcer's home run comment]. He really walloped that one.
  • 85a. RNINGTRACK, [Grassless area on a diamond's perimeter that lets a fielder know the wall is near]. Warning track.
  • 88a. THROCURVE, [Try to fool a batter, perhaps]. Throw a curve.
  • 98a. SHINGTON, [Home of the Nationals]. Washington, D.C.
  • 103a. ISTHIGH, [Like a perfectly hittable pitch]. Waist-high. Not “is thigh”!
  • 111a, 119a. THERESNOCRYING INBASEBALL, [With 119 Across, Tom Hanks line in "A League of Their Own" — and the key to this puzzle's theme]

I liked the theme all right, and I liked the mental challenge of leaving things like LLYLL, DEBOGGS, and a word starting with RN right there in the grid. It was the TULIP (24d. [Flower by a windmill]) that pushed me tord (What? That’s how I pronounce “toWArd”) figuring out what the theme’s doing—S(wa)T and MIL(wa)UKEE.

Less enamored of the fill. This is the price to pay for having 13 theme entries in the grid. It’s Merl’s trademark (along with pun themes), to pack the grid with theme and then sort of look the other way as the remaining squares get filled in with BTLS and BREI, BAAL and REBAG—words that generally have reasonable crossings so the solver won’t hit an impassable roadblock, but that don’t really add anything to the puzzle.

3.25 stars.

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37 Responses to Sunday, 6/10/12

  1. Howard B says:

    I was just overthinking the Times theme. I solved it well enough, read the clue and answer describing the theme, looked at all the answers, and still did not understand the commonality at all until reading it here. I simply missed the boat on it entirely, especially because I couldn’t understand how the middle answer worked.
    Now that I do, I really like the sheer audacity and craziness of it. I just wish my tired mind made the connection sooner. Oh well.

  2. Jeffrey says:

    Cute, but I’m not overwhelmed by the theme. Yet I’m not underwhelmed either. I am just whelmed.

  3. Jim Horne says:

    Like Amy, I’m a fan of today’s NYT theme. I wonder how many people lost time because they stopped to solve 7x – 6 = 2x^2. Yeah, me too.

  4. Jim Horne says:

    By the way, I don’t know if Amy plans to blog this one but today’s NYT Variety puzzle, a Hex cryptic, is especially fun.

  5. granbaer says:

    Clever theme. Definitely easier fill than yesterday.

  6. Martin says:

    Jim,

    Why does the quadratic formula recall instantly — despite not using it for many years — but your wife’s birthday is nowhere to be found despite annual punishment?

  7. john farmer says:

    Circles!

    NINE-BANDED ARMADILLO: brilliant.

  8. Jared says:

    Oh sure, pannonica, use a diacritical mark just because I don’t know how to.

  9. AV says:

    Agree with Amy & John Farmer – how cool is 9-banded A-R-M-A-D-I-L-L-O? (Another of those “I wish I had come up with this theme” puzzles!)
    5.5 stars!

  10. Gary says:

    Spent a few minutes after I finished the NYT puzzle trying to figure out why letters forming certain words were in circles. But it was late and I gave up pretty quickly. After coming here and reading the explanation, I’m glad I didn’t work on it any longer. If I had come up with what is apparently the correct explanation, I would have rejected it – “That’s WAY too big a stretch – you’re just tired!”

    “Theme” aside, I liked the puzzle. Have to quibble with the clue for 25A though. I’ve seen many swings made out of tires, but never an inner tube – don’t think it would work.

  11. Matt says:

    I agree that the theme of ‘phrases that may be reinterpreted as self-referential statements concerning words in the phrase whose letters are circled, including a theme entry at the end that refers to itself referring to itself’ is rather over-the-line. Although it’s fair to say that I’m slowly getting less irritated and more admiring…

  12. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Haven’t done Sunday puzzles yet, so I didn’t read the comments.

    Amy, I enjoyed your write-up of the Stumper. I also misread that clue as {Revolution frequency}, so you have the interesting phenomenon of careless reading canceling clever cluing.

    Bayeux Tapestry story–I was taken there at age seven on our first trip after we moved to France, and I got the full historical briefing from my parents–1066, the Normal Conquest, the whole bit. When I next returned as a young adult, I remembered having been there, but didn’t recognize the building from the outside. But as I entered the tapestry room, something clicked, and I confidently looked up a foot or so over my head. But it wasn’t a foot over my head. It was a little below eye level.

    Re non-plural teams–Having moved to MA, literally in the shadows of the UMass dorm towers, — (the Minutemen, or Women, although Minutewomen sounds funny–I’ll let you write your own punchlines)–we play a similar trivia game: Identify the college teams whose nickname does not end with an ‘s’. There must be a team somewhere called the Cardinals, so the Stanford Cardinal can play the Cardinals.

  13. Bruce N. Morton says:

    The Normal Conquest is too good a serendipitous line to edit.

  14. Bruce N. Morton says:

    I still don’t get the theme, even having read the explanation. I’ll try to think some more.

  15. paula says:

    Count me among those who had to read it here to “get” the theme tho the puzzle was enjoyable w/o the knowing. I still don’t really get why the center features an armadillo — I would guess it’s the 9 bands going around it (in circles!). Oh well. It was a good one despite the subtlety of the theme.

  16. John Haber says:

    I’m in the half that didn’t really get it and am only reluctantly finding it halfway interesting, but oh well. Otherwise easy enough. The last couple of weeks with Patrick, had been hard for a Sunday, and this went the other way, maybe deliberately so. I’d trouble with OWIE / WOOHOO, out of touch with family life today as no doubt I am. Never heard of LIKE LIKE (with all easy crossings), but now I know!

  17. Matt says:

    Oh, by the way, LIKELIKE is an example of ‘contrastive focus reduplication’:

    http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/%7Emyl/languagelog/archives/004591.html

    which contains a link to the famous ‘Salad-Salad’ paper.

    Also: @John Haber, FYI.

  18. Amy Reynaldo says:

    I think it’s bogus that of the 31 ratings thus far for the NYT, there are four 1-star and four 2-star ratings. I’d like someone who understands the theme but strongly disliked the puzzle to explain what’s so bad about it. But before you do that, read constructor Xan’s remarks on his original clue for GO IN CIRCLES and his explanation of the theme’s full richness at the Rex Parker blog.

  19. Jan says:

    I got the theme, had a fast solve, but didn’t feel strongly about the puzzle either way. Since I like almost all of them, maybe that’s telling. Also, I was distracted by the clue for NOONER. I would never use that term in reference to midday errands. (Oh wait, maybe I used it once in my volunteer work when I had to prepay for emergency shelter for someone. As in, “If anybody tells you they saw me at a motel on route one at noon, it wasn’t because I was having a nooner.”) Anyway, back to the theme, I think it’s better when the gimmick isn’t redundant. It wouldn’t work well with these theme entries, but if “go in circles” just consists of the word GO with circles around them, I think that’s more what we expect in solving that kind of wordplay. That said, the armadillo entry with its scientific clue fact and numeric/visual answer is pretty neat.

  20. Martin says:

    Re NACHO CHIP in today’s CrosSynergy:

    Sam, I don’t know about the States, but it’s a common enough phrase up here in Canada, especially on commercial packaging.

    Also, it was used in the NYT as recently as this year (Sat, Jan 14, 2012).

    -MAS

  21. Martin says:

    Sam,

    Yes we call them nacho chips, even in the States.

    It’s a ladle. Or maybe a scoob.

  22. Amy Reynaldo says:

    I live in a different America than Martin. I’m with Sam: There are tortilla chips as the base for nachos and there are Nacho Cheese Doritos, but what are NACHO CHIPs? They are nothing I see in the snack aisle at the grocery store. Maybe they’re those horribly over-salted round chips served with that goopy cheezoid sauce at ballpark concession stands? Because those can hardly make a claim to being called tortilla chips. But are they nacho chips or just off-brand Tostitos?

  23. Bruce N. Morton says:

    I’m still wondering if I’ve understood this. Armadillo has 9 letters, so each of the 9 is within a band? Organs are internal, so they’re encircled? The tube is inner because the letters have circles around them? *That’s* the theme everyone is raving about? I still don’t understand the word “go” in “go in circles.” Unless it just means that parts of the answers are found in, or placed within circles. In fact I *didn’t* give it 2 (or 1) stars, but if I had understood it–I dunno. To each his (or her) own, I guess.

    MAS’s quad stack was very smooth and enjoyable, medium difficulty, nice mix of words, though it never occurred to me that “tinsel” was one of those words one can verb. I suppose 16a is from my era, but I still never heard of it, though it was easy to see where the answer was going. I don’t mind the asymmetry at all, (though of course, it *is* symmetrical along the vertical axis. (Snacking on nacho chips as I speak.)

  24. Martin says:

    I love it when people say “nobody says that” or “there’s no such thing”.

    It’s just a synonym for corn chip. People say “nacho cheese” too. It’s even a punch line. (Cheese falls off truck. Guy finds cheese. Discovers kind of cheese when driver yells at him “That’s nacho cheese!”)

  25. Amy Reynaldo says:

    I haven’t done the CS so I’m wondering how 1d and 2d were clued. ADRA and FOOS are looking like escapees from crosswords in languages other than English.

  26. Martin says:

    ADRA is a town in Spain (not great).
    FOOS is slang for “foosball,” which I loved.

  27. Martin says:

    The last time ADRA appeared (as far as I know) was in one of Dan Nador’s LA Times puzzles in 2010.

    FOOS makes its crossword debut today (take a bow FOOS). It is, as the other Martin points out, slang for the popular table-top game.

    -MAS

  28. rock says:

    O.K. I’m a lil dummy, so tell me why it was ok to have 3 ups in the Post Puzzler?

  29. Martin says:

    Also for you iPhone users there’s:

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/finger-foos/id330046545?mt=8

    -MAS

  30. Martin says:

    Very elegant theme in the NYT today!

    MAS

  31. Gareth says:

    There are nacho chips in the snack aisles here in South Africa. They’re appallingly overpriced doritos or other “regular” chips are about 8 rand for 150g. Nacho chips are about 25 rand. Never been enticed enough to find out why.

  32. maikong says:

    MAS –

    In reality, nacho chips is probably the trashing of Tortilla chips. However, I, too, always say Nacho chips and have uttered “foos” on occasion. Being a mellow Southern American, I like to shortcut as much as possible.

    Enjoyed your puzzle.

  33. Sam Donaldson says:

    Had I known FOOS was making its debut I would have called attention to it! I played a little too much foos while at school in Florida, easily enough to hear it referred to often by its shortened name.

  34. jefe says:

    @Sam: I originally saw a tree, but when you suggested the Rorschach test, I took another look and saw something that Potter Stewart might find objectionable.

  35. TGK says:

    Follow Amy’s link and you’ll find the constructor’s explanation of the theme in the comments under Parker’s post.

    For those who thought the theme was inexplicable, he seems to agree. The crux is:

    “IMO something crucial was lost in the editing process. The clue I submitted for 116A was something like [Be redundant, like the parts of the starred entries that don't 116-Across?]. I like this because it forces one to realize that the circled part of each theme entry is “acting out” the whole entry. ARMADILLO with nine circles around it can stand alone as a nine-banded armadillo. Similarly, PLANETS are ringed by circles

    ….

    Without question, this puzzle needs *something* to help the solvers out a little more.”

    – Xan Vongsathorn

    I think, now that I understand the theme I can retrospectively enjoy the puzzle more than I did while solving it.

    It definitively needed “something” more though. Maybe a more leading title?

    IMO the most confusing aspect is that an “inner tube”/”ball”/”planet”/”bubble” are all geometrically circular. In combination with the circled squares that leads you to think circular shapes are the twist in and of themselves, but they’re not (well not exactly).

  36. martin katon says:

    thanks so much, i grew up on lake michigan and immediately knew the answer , though it was grossly misspelled (milwaukee brewers) thanks you made me realize the weird things that these writers do.

  37. Jay Eff says:

    The theme doesn’t hold water. Nor does this ‘explanation.’ Not Will’s best work.

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