Of the hundreds of puzzles I’ve made in the last few years, only about 50 of them have been themeless. And before today I’d only ever posted three of them on this site. Today’s grid is lucky number four, with a bullet.
The truth is that, generally speaking, I somewhat prefer *solving* themeless puzzles. But when it comes to *making* them, I tend to find my attention wandering after the first few words go in. In recent months I’ve found more focus in developing lower word count architecture (“ooh, let’s see if *this* is possible!”) or even grabbing grid arrangements wholesale from other constructors I admire (“ooh, let’s imagine how *Sid* started out on this set-up!”).
The puzzle’s title comes from the clue for 36-Across, which is a not-so-subtle h/t to my very good streaming buddy Parker. Last night we constructed a grid on the stream and invited the audience to a Google doc for the cluing phase, which was predictably bonkers (and ultimately productive). You can check out that whole process here; I’ll post the puzzle sometime this week. And Parker and I will be back at it tomorrow night at 10pm eastern after the Boswords stream.
No spoilers this week. What does one say about a themeless puzzle? C’est de la poésie, non?
Happy solving, friends.
12 thoughts on “Nightly Twitch Stream (Themeless)”
Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but I found this WAY harder than the 3.5/5 difficulty rating. I needed to reveal a couple words to finish, which will make me moody for the rest of the day, and I will harbor 29A for the rest of the week! 😛 (Maybe I needed more coffee this morning, or maybe my mental dullness is attributable to yesterday’s second dose of Moderna – yay me.) Some of the entries are neat words that I’d never seen before, at least not in puzzles, so bravo for all those. I was CERTAIN that 36A was going to be RESTLESS LEG, but it was not to be. Nice puzzle overall. Only slight misfire is the clue to 50D – technically you probably meant “half-inning”, but even then it’s slightly off because a walk-off hit (i.e., one that bats in a run that ends the game in the bottom of the ninth (or later) inning) can be on the third pitch.
It’s not just you, Rich. I think this is harder than advertised. When I was labeling this, I think I did the “well, for a *themeless puzzle, this is probably a __/5” calculus. I’d give it a 4/4.5 in the traditional Rossword scale.
And as for the [Like a three pitch inning], when a pitcher’s stats are logged, getting three outs is “one inning pitched,” as in, “Clemens pitched the third inning.” (“Clemens pitched one half of the third inning” would strike me as pretty funny!) Though the bottom-of-the-ninth scenario you suggest is a valid exception to this clue! Would you entertain a riposte that the pitcher who gives up that hit isn’t credited as having actually pitched an inning, as the clue implies? 😀
Your response is very valid! When measuring pitcher’s stats (or from the point of view of the pitcher), what the larger baseball ecosystem views as a “half-inning” is an “inning”. So you’re right, Clemens doesn’t pitch a half-inning, he pitches an inning, even if an announcer or a fan might say “Clemens got rocked in the top of the fourth” or “Klu homered in the bottom of the sixth”.. (Maybe the Rocket is not the best example, since all his stats will be accompanied by asteriks…) And I agree with your last point too! From the point of view of pitcher’s stats, each out is one-third of an inning, so in the walk-off example the pitcher can only have pitched, at most, two-thirds of an inning. So on reflection your clue is fine. Maybe I’m just grumpy – again, I need more coffee…
A little confused by 31 D. A swinging foursome to me implied golf. The US (Golf) Open is not held in New York; it’s the US (Tennis) Open that is held in New York
Hey, Phil! The US (golf) Open is sometimes held in New York, including the most recent iteration at Winged Foot in 2020.
The tennis angle might work too, if you consider doubles play (though I don’t know if “tennis swing” is a phrase like “golf swing”).
Okay, so I would second (third?) the motion to declare this harder than advertised. I managed to do it with no outside help of any kind, but it took me nearly 25 minutes and a number of “guesses” (all pretty logical, thanks to some helpful cluing, but still …).
A good puzzle (i.e., very puzzling … in spots … 😜).
It’s clear I need a better calibration heuristic than “what did my mom think.” (Though as opinions go, that’s a privileged one.)
Hi Ross! Yes, this was harder than usual, but fair…love 60 Across, since it’s statement frequently aimed a forgetful me. Thank you!
Enjoyed the puzzle a lot, lots of really fun fill. To chime in on the 50-D discourse, starting during the 2017 season it has become possible to construct a full half-inning with 3 pitches and a run scored:
1. First pitch home run
2. Intentional walk (no pitches thrown – new rule)
3. First pitch double play
4. First pitch groundout
But I get the spirit of the cluing, and personally am not a fan at all of the new IBB rules.
THIS IS INCREDIBLE. I live for exceptions to the rule. Thanks, tonearm!
Another exception would be with the AWFUL covid-era extra innings rule about starting with a man on second base. First pitch, fielders choice advances that guy to third; second pitch sac fly, scores that guy; third pitch ground out (or flyout). Three pitches, one run, three outs.
Baseball has so many exceptions to every rule. How about “Like new stockings”? 🙂