if october was "hell month" at matt gaffney's weekly crossword contest, then november must have been "earth month," because all four puzzles featured geographical themes. what does december (i.e. "heaven month"?) have in store? before we get to that, let's take a look at last week's puzzle, "Regional Variation." the five overt theme answers (with starred clues) were:
what about the sixth theme answer, the one hiding in the grid? well, the theme isn't necessarily obvious, but i was on the lookout for another geographical theme (and the title didn't dissuade me of that), so i noticed pretty much right away that each of the starred answers began with the first four letters as a state in new england: MASSachusetts, NEW Hampshire, VERMont, MAINe, and CONNecticut. what's the other state in new england? why, RHODe island, of course. that makes the hidden theme answer RHODA, at 15a, clued as [She moved from Minneapolis to New York City]. i don't know anything about this show other than it spun off from mary tyler moore (i think?), but i imagine this geographically-inclined clue was yet another hint, as was the clue for NEWHART.
odds & ends from the fill:
overall, i found this puzzle surprisingly easy for a fourth-week puzzle, both the crossword and the meta. how did it treat you?
that's all for me this week, this month, and maybe this blog. see you over at the new site!
December 02, 2009