Roman emperor who overthrew Galba / THU 10-15-15 / Financial guru Suze / Orpheus Spartacus by birth / Follower of roger to radioer / Yuri's love in Dr Zhivago / Companion of Quasimodo
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Constructor: Kevin G. Der
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: spirals — theme answers are things that spiral, and also there is a chain of double-letter squares (the circled squares pictured above) that spirals clockwise from the NW into the center of the grid...
- SNAIL SHELL (18A: Home that's never left?)
- YULE LOG (24A: Christmas edible?)
- WHIRLPOOL (41A: Big name in appliances)
- MILKY WAY (55A: Our place in the universe)
- GUGGENHEIM (63A: Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece, with "the")
Otho (//; Latin: Marcus Salvius Otho Caesar Augustus; 28 April 32 – 16 April 69), was Roman Emperor for three months, from 15 January to 16 April 69. He was the second emperor of the Year of the Four Emperors. (wikipedia)
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GUGGENHEIM and SNAIL SHELL, and I got it. *Then* I notice WHIRLPOOL. Then YULE LOG and MILKY WAY. That's a lot of theme material. So a two-tiered theme like this—very impressive. Solving it—very very easy, kind of plodding. The spiral effect doesn't quite come off because the circled (or shaded) squares a. don't really spiral, since they turn on right angles, and b. conflict visually with the black square pattern. So the grid just doesn't scream "spiral" at you. It barely whispers it. I've seen the shaded-square version at the NYT site. There, you've got white squares and gray squares and black squares and you have to really Want to see the spiral. Anyway, I'm impressed by the architecture, even if it wasn't a delight to solve.
Speaking of architecture, all I could think of after grasping the theme was Liz Gorski's masterful Guggenheim museum puzzle from 2009 (commemorating the museum's 50th birthday).
Not much to say about the solving experience besides the fact that it was easy, even though my time was much longer than usual because of all the extra keying I had to do to get the two letters into each square. How long did it take for me to pick up the double-letter gimmick? I'd say under 10 seconds. Here's where I got it:
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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