Hola Lovers, hola Dear Readers. It's been a minute. Shitty sucky suck shit is happening in our country, the USA country. The agents of state violence sharpen their knives. The highest seats of global power are held by psychos. The president is terrible with money and about to cut investments in clean water (!) and the IRS (!!). The former didn't surprise us so much altho it fills us with extreme dread. The latter ... surprises us! The IRS is where the money comes from! Doesn't that guy want there to be money? How's he going to pay his agents of state violence?
Anyway, we're back! If you're excited, then know that there are two ways you can fuel this blog. One is by writing comments. The other is by sending us money. Passively reading and enjoying is also fine and we respect it and appreciate the lurking masses.
The Theme!Diametricode. Seena thisa one before in May 2015. Ten clues entered into the grid via an arcane coding mechanism in which the crenellated peripheral letters correspond to their brother letter on the other side of the center dot. We're explaining this in the most confusing way, we realize. But so like if you look at the answer up top, then an “F” is encoded as a “C” and a “C” is encoded as an “F.”
It's fine. Bummer that there were only shorty answers in this puzzle. Nothing over a 8 in length? And some of the fill had only one or two un-encoded crosses, which was also a bummer. But other than that, a fun fine time. Diametricode is fine.
We're just gonna put the encoded answers down with the regular Highlights and Lowlights.
O and also, there were two errors in the grid girders! The errors went unremarked in the official answer key as well. There was a forgotten vertical line on the left side of the fifth row, and an extra line on the right side of eleventh row. Sloppi.
In a dark room, Babs of The Listener kneels before Maltby. Xander and the Puzzle Minion stands nearby. They're all wearing plague masks like in True Detective Season 2. It's super creepy. Babs will learn perfect grid construction. Oh yes. Babs will learn.
- 15A) Be around religious figure of musical note (5)
BE around (religious figure = REV) = BREVE
- 16A) Island in the Sound gives you a charge—gosh! (4)
Sound (charge = FEE) (gosh = GEE) = FIJI
- 18A) Character at the end pursuing giant animated mouse in Krazy Kat (6)
(Character at the end = Z) pursuing GIANT animated = IGNATZ
- 23A) A joint goes with it! (3)
A joint = with it = HIP
- 24A) Mushy velour paintings are seen here (6)
Mushy VELOUR = LOUVRE
- 29A) Radical group in chemistry, etc.—lay off (6)
ETC LAY off = ACETYL
- 34) Automatic reaction covering Return of Elf King (6)
covering (Return of Elf = FLE) (King = REX) = REFLEX
- Involuntary bodily reaction to the elf in Return of the King (6)
- 41A) How having two lines with zero content leads to depression (6)
HOW having (two lines = ll = LL) with (zero = O) = HOLLOW
- 44A) Candy coin (4)
MINT (double syn)
- 46A) Trip instigator requires type O transfusion close to departure (6)
TYPE O transfusion (close to DEPARTURE = E) = PEYOTE
- 48A) Leaders meeting in legal action, collecting millions (6)
(legal action = SUIT) collecting (millions = MM) = SUMMIT
- 1D) Okay, outside it is limited (6)
(Okay = FINE) outside IT = FINITE
- 4D) River flowing around Nubia and the capital of Ghana (6)
around NUBIA and the (capital of Ghana = G) = UBANGI
- 5D) Liberal issues: touching reading (7)
LIBERAL issues = BRAILLE
- 9D) Luminary one in a million (4)
one in a MILLION = LION
- 10D) Left club with speed? Humorous stuff! (5)
(Left = L) (club = Y) with (speed = MPH) = LYMPH
- 11D) Flood coming from two directions on map—disastrous (5)
(two directions = South West = S W) on MAP = SWAMP
ONES deceptive = NOSE
- 27D) Play in French—who is appearing in it—will become clear (6)
(Play = ACT) in (French who = QUI) = ACQUIT
early 13c., "to satisfy a debt" (either for oneself or on behalf of another), from Old French aquiter, acquiter "pay, pay up, settle a claim" (12c., Modern French acquitter), from a- "to" (see ad-) + quite "free, clear" (see quit (adj.))
Source: our boyfriend Etymonline
- 30D) Made to be sauced! (6)
be SAUCED = CAUSED
- 32D) Some not clerical work, namely (6)
work NAMELY = LAYMEN
- 33D) Plains inhabitants, moving in a kind of column (6)
PLAINS inhabitants moving = SPINAL
- 34D) Go over what happened, concerning, like, between two goalposts! (6)
(concerning = RE) (like = AS) between (two goalposts = HH) = REHASH
- 35D) Unusual producer of energy and toxic wastes (6)
producer of (energy = E) and TOXIC = EXOTIC
- 37D) Narrow fork, questionable on moral grounds (5)
(Narrow = SLIM) (fork = Y) = SLIMY
- 42D) Escaped from slammer? (3)
sLAMmer = LAM
- 8A) I entered into a lot of yards, at university setting (6)
I entered into (a lot of yards = MILE) at (university = U) = MILIEU
- 12A) Citrus blend produces a big open smile (6)
CITRUS blend = RICTUS
- 14A) Preceded by an article concerning fight (4)
Preceded by (an article = A) (concerning = ABOUT) = BOUT
- 19A) Cleaning item used to be hot, however regressed (7)
(used to be = WAS) (hot = H) ((however = BUT) regressed = TUB) = WASHTUB
- 26A) Make another copy, but peter out around copy's end (6)
PETER out around (copy's end = Y) = RETYPE
- 28A) Almost nothing protects downloaded program, one that eliminates bugs (6)
(Almost (nothing = ZERO) = ZER) protects (downloaded program = APP) = ZAPPER
- 45A) Something Poe made, when starting out! (4)
POE (MADE when starting out = M) = POEM
- 47A) Unfinished work, many thanks to the British (3)
Unfinished (work = TASK) = TAS
- 2D) Practices eliminating the origin of digital streams (5)
(Practices = DRILLS) eliminating (the origin of digital = D) = RILLS
Also we kept trying to work out what could stream from fingers (digits) and could only think of “blood” which reminded us of a story our neice told us about the “blood. was. flowing.” Our neice is a dark and cool kid. She is not afraid to look into the darkness.
- 3D) Hoodlums: good unless bad (7)
(good = G) UNLESS bad = GUNSELS
Triggered, that's what we're trying to say. The word “hoodlums” triggered our suspicions. But this clue comes up clean. Hoodlums are good unless bad. A hoodlum is often gunsel. Close enough. Carry on.
- 7D) One might cite torque as an example of twisting! (6)
TORQUE as an example of twisting = QUOTER
Also, show us a QUOTER who doesn't cite, please. Maybe you can see them doing it in their head. And you say, “hey! Are you gonna tell me that hot quote you're thinking of?” and the QUOTER coyly smiles and says, “I might.”
- 13D) Emerging from Biltz, a really royal figure (4)
BliTZ A Really = TZAR
- 22D) The Scottish version of 20D, if you're listening! (4)
The Scottish version of (NOSE) = NAES
Shout out to the three Dear Readers who track with us :)
- 25D) At a low point, say goodbye to Mark Antony (4)
- 28D) Things put in lists, just so arrangement can be made (6)
JUST SO arrangement = JOUSTS
The jousting terminology used during the Middle Ages included the following terms:
Lists - The 'lists' were barriers which defined the battlefield in a tournament
- 31D) Military exercise that's a mark on your character? (6)
signal calling soldiers or sailors to quarters at night," 1680s, earlier tap-to (1640s), from Dutch taptoe, from tap "faucet of a cask" (see tap (n.1)) + toe "shut, to," from Proto-Germanic *to (see to (prep.)).
Source: our boyfriend again Etymonline
Points and kudos for not using a diacritic (tilde, accent, cedilla) which is where we woulda sworn this was headed.
- Tricky answer above? I'm outta there! (3)
(answer above = SLIMY) I'M outta there = SLY
- 19D) Bravery to appear with no underwear? Really? (4)
Bravery to appear with no (underwear = BRA) = VERY
We were a nude model for $10/hr in college at a super chill art studio in Providence. Even for a hardcore exhibitionist extrovert such as ourself, and even in the context of a chill respectful environment, it was difficult to remove dat robe the first time! Every fiber of socialization telling us, “do NOT take your clothes off!! Not in front of STRANGERS??” But then we did it, and it was liberating and awesome.
Anyway. People tell us that our personal sobriety is brave. And it's hard to explain that nyah, sobriety doesn't feel brave. Probably because it's so tied up in ancient shame. Tellya what though, posing naked felt brave. And we'll guess that any Western-socialized person who believes otherwise about public nudity has never done it.
If interested though, there's a college art class near you that would love for you to take your clothes off for them. If you're brave enough.