Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Thanksgiving Spread”—Jim P’s evaluate
Theme: In honor of Thanksgiving, we’re given acquainted phrases with the letters Y-A-M spreading out as we proceed down the grid.
- 17a. [Iconic Cold War novel by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer] THE UGLY AMERICAN.
- 24a. [Ex claims] ALIMONY PAYMENTS.
- 44a. [They’re used with whiteboards] DRY ERASE MARKERS.
- 58a. [Builders and would-be drivers do it] APPLY FOR A PERMIT.
I guessed the theme earlier than filling in a single letter, so no thematic aha second for me. But I like that every entry is a well-recognized grid-spanning phrase. It would have been wonderful if the letters in query might’ve been centered precisely in the midst of the grid like the primary entry. But that’s most likely an impossibility once you add the grid-spanning constraint. In addition, every “spread” is consecutive with 0, 1, 2, after which 3 letters between the YAM letters, additional limiting the variety of potential entries. So regardless of the comparatively simple theme, there are many constraints occurring right here making for a pleasant, tight theme.
The lengthy fill is has some sparkle with SERENITY, TSUNAMI, SKI TRIP, and TO AND FRO.
Also, PEER GYNT. I stepped away from this puzzle for a bit, and after I returned, my eye lit upon PEER GYNT and I used to be immediately reminded of the “Am I Pregant?” tune which I binge-watched x variety of occasions final night time. I hoped for an excuse to embed the video, and the puzzle supplied up PEER GYNT. Thanks crossword gods! If the vacation has you pressured, take pleasure in a couple of laughs by watching this video a couple of dozen occasions. (It will get higher with every viewing.) No, “Am I PEER GYNT?” shouldn’t be within the tune…but it surely might have been!
Clue of observe: 1d. [One problem after another?]. MATH. Needed 3/4 crossings, however a enjoyable aha second available right here. Nice clue.
A easy theme, however a pleasant puzzle nonetheless. 3.5 stars.
I hope everybody has a cheerful Thanksgiving! (Reminder: No WSJ puzzle tomorrow.)