Puzzle Tuesday – Happy Pai Day, everyone! Peter Gordon’s Puzzle of the Day is very timely, even though it’s not about the annual celebration of math that usually takes place on March 14th. Instead, Mr. Gordon’s puzzle celebrates a different annual tradition that begins today.
Whether this topic resonates with the analyst may depend on who is solving the puzzle. For some, this theme will spark the joy of having something they love celebrated with crossword puzzles. For others who have less appreciation for this annual event, it might be a bit flat, especially for those outside the United States who may not have heard of it. Personally, I work out at 20a with my family every year, but my decisions are usually based on feelings rather than any possible knowledge of 38a or passion for 51a.
I’ll say more on the topic below, but first, let’s look at some of the tougher clues in today’s puzzle.
9a. Although “leaving to the library?” Seeming to be about an item being forgotten after a long study session, it is actually a wordplay guide for PAGES – the “papers” in books in the library.
14a. ELO has appeared in the New York Times Crossword more than 200 times. Today, it is the answer to the idea of a “phone line, for fans.” If you are interested, here is a file Twitter account which keeps track of whether ELO appears in a puzzle each day.
15a. I’m not the best at remembering different “letter-shaped” parts of building materials, so I needed a few crossings to get I RAIL, the “letter-shaped train track beam”.
56a. I confidently wrote in Nikon about the “competitor Canon”, thinking that the idea was about cameras. I’d never heard of RICOH before, but it occurred to me after a quick Internet search that RICOH is also a “competitor to Canon”, specifically in the office supplies market.
63a. The idea of ”who solves this riddle” is a bit tricky. I wanted to write “I” here, but of course only you are right. But to me, you’re another person, you know? Well, now my head hurts.
10 d. Clues in quotes, such as “Oh, yer joshin ‘me,” are usually conversational phrases for which you need to identify the equivalent phrases. The answer is “AW, GO ON!” It matches this particular guide both in meaning and in informality.
31 d. We have another unofficial conversation guide here with “Never Happening!” The answer is in the pig’s eye, a phrase I’m pretty sure I’ve never actually heard of, but may have seen in books, and that was inferred from crosses.
33 d. I also had never heard the term GASSER standing for “funny joke, colloquially” before, but my limited knowledge of slang certainly wasn’t.
This puzzle contains three circled topic entries and two related long topic entries, all related to the NCAA basketball tournament, also known as MARCH MADNESS (“annual college basketball tournament, rounds of which may be found in the boxes circled with their appropriate numbers” ).
As the revealer explains, the circled entries are FINAL (“___ 4”), ELITE (“___ 8”), and SWEET (“___ 16”), each of which is a round of the tournament. College basketball fans who enjoy predicting the winner of the tournament often engage in BRACKETOLOGY (“the process of picking 51-through winners”), filling in the brackets with their choices for each game.
We also have CINDERELLA teams, which are “what the 51-cross lower-ranked participants hope to become.” CINDERELLA’s teams are the ones that have overcome steep odds to go far in the tournament despite their underdog status.
There is nothing more to explain here. MARCH MADNESS starts today, March 14th, and will continue until the Champion team is determined in early April.
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