I’m back from my foray into preaching/political strategizing and hoping to entertain you with a middle-of-the-road themeless. (Pick a lane, dammit!)
44D: Just before the pandemic hit, I was in Sri Lanka taking an architectural tour of Colombo. As we walked up one street between a phenomenal indoor market and some beautifully restored buildings, the guide mentioned that Duran Duran had filmed the video for “Hungry Like the Wolf” on that very street. Who’d’ve thought?!
Difficulty: Not quite as difficult (by a small margin) as scaling these cliffs would be
16 Across was the “seed,” appropriately enough, though it’s a concept that baffles me, as a lifelong suburbanite. 28 Across: I had the opportunity to fly Emirates Business Class from DC to Dubai a few years ago and then fly it back from Singapore. It was probably the most luxurious travel experience I’ve ever had. 15 Down: In 2010 my brother and I visited the Shetland Islands, rented a car, and drove off to see (among other things) the puffins, which are all over the place – except, that is, for all the places we looked for them. Shortly after that trip I started a blog (long dormant) called Puffinless Travel. I’ve been to every continent except Australia since 2010 and still haven’t seen any puffins.
Difficulty: You’ll exercise some neurons. They’ll thank you.
The seed for this one was 17 Across, which I listened to a couple of months ago for the first time since it was released back in 1979. I do not greatly regret the 43-year gap and will probably listen to Blood on the Tracks a few dozen times before I listen to 17 Across again. But it is 15 letters long, and it does allow a cutesy pairing with 56 Across (mascot for a candy I hold in similar regard to 17 Across).
Time for a challenging themeless! (I can feel your excitement.) So, 14 Down (which I mentioned in my write-up last week if you want to cheat): It’s home to llamas/alpacas/guanacos (some or all; I saw them from a bus but am not up on my camelids) and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. To serve out our quarantine, my fellow infected people and I were bused to a small city called Rio Grande and put up in a barebones hotel (more like a dorm, but way cleaner) called Select Inn. The ultra-warm and wonderful mother hen at the Inn, whose name is Cinthia, cared for us as if we were her own relatives, providing food, smiles, conversation, and much-needed laughter. Thank you, Cinthia!!! If you ever find yourself in 14 Down and are looking for assistance or advice, Cinthia and her son run a company called Odisea Fueguensa, which does just that.
I hope you enjoy the puzzle. I haven’t decided what’s coming up next. Guess you’ll have to check back next Sunday.
In constructing this puzzle, I wanted most of my grid-spanners to be phrases. That’s one thing I love about Tim Croce’s Club 72 puzzles; many of his long answers are conversational. (Check out his puzzles here. He posts challenging themeless puzzles every Tuesday and themeless or variety puzzles every Friday.)
A couple of other notes: I’m particularly (yet inexplicably) fond of the punny clues for 29 and 52 Down, and I’m always happy to include 41 Down in a grid; she’s one of the very greatest singer-songwriters ever.
Enjoy, share, follow, etc. Next up (1/16) will be a puzzle with tips for where to eat in Motown.
Here’s a mid-week bonus: a themed puzzle crafted by my brother Eric, celebrating a certain land mass where he and I will be traveling in February (assuming Omicron and all other Greek letters cooperate).
Eric is an astrophysicist, world traveler (>110 countries visited), multi-linguist, and avid consumer of films, books, and spicy vegetarian food. I learn something from all of his puzzles – including at least four new words/terms in this one – so prepare yourself for a challenge and emerge enlightened!
This one’s pretty tough, particularly the 1A/6&7D combination. If you’ve never had 1A, you owe it to yourself to try some, preferably washed down with a Medalla. I first ran across 7D while learning to play Rhapsody in Blue way back in high school. There’s a nasty 7D that I never quite got.
If you finish the puzzle, reward yourself with a 1 Down, 16 Down, or 45 Across. If you don’t finish it, console yourself with the same.
Please share this puzzle throughout the metaverse, link to this site, and otherwise give me some free publicity. Next up (11/21) will be a medium-difficulty, Thanksgiving-themed puzzle. Thanks, and enjoy!
Back by popular, um, indifference? dismay? … a themeless where, to paraphrase Whose Line Is It Anyway, almost everything is made up and your time doesn’t matter. The rules are simple:
– All 3- and 4- letter words are defined straightforwardly
– Longer words may be:
(1) Normal words clued with little or no regard to their usual meaning. For example, in my first Goofy Themeless (posted 6/21/21), the answer to the clue “’It’s a boy; I can ___,’ said the geneticist with the supersensitive nose,” was SMELLY; or
(2) Made-up words or phrases. For example, in my first Goofy Themeless, the answer to the clue “self-referential, laxative cereal” was METAMUESLI.