Modern-Day Provocateur

Colin Ernst is not one to back away from a challenge.

Modern-Day Provocateur

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Thursday Puzzle

I've never played a game that involved wagering, except for the time that I bet Sam Ezersky the Crossword and Spelling Bee Editor that he wouldn't be able solve a crossword if he ate an entire plate of Halloween candy in the office. I was wrong about Mr. Ezersky's tolerance for sugar. I lost. I would never bet against him in terms of his caffeine consumption.

Colin Ernst offers some questionable advice on betting in today's crossword. Okay, perhaps a small amount of pun is intended.

This is a rebus, but if you're solving it electronically, rather than printically,

Here is some guidance

How to enter multiple characters in a single square.

When I came across the clue "___ fool to not do!'' I knew that there was something strange going on. At 52A. There were only three spaces, so the answer was I'D BE. According to the crossings of 52D and 54D, BE was squeezed in the last square.

It made my Spidey solving sense tingle and I wondered what entry at 54D began with the rebus (BE). The clue was 'Risk It All', and the italicized clue made it clear that this was a theme answer.

I then tried to fill in all the entries below 54A. At 58A, the 'certain volleyball players' were actually SE[TT]ERS with all of the Ts in one square.

Now we're moving forward, I thought. This Down entry is most likely a sentence, which I had to read from top to bottom in every square. What I ended up with was:








You can also find out more about RE







This is a great synonym for "Risk it All."

I solved 11D thanks to Abe VIGODA, who was at 9A. VIGODA is always the answer when you see 'Actor Abe.' in the New York Times Crossword.

VIGODA was at 11D, where the clue read 'Risk it All' in italics. The rest of the actor surname was filled in and I ended up with [GO][FO][R R][KE].

Why are we doing this double-up of letters for the Down entries? At 57D, Mr. Ernst encouraged to "Gamble Boldly" or, as it says in the entry, DOUBLEDOWN.

To "Bolt with a great Speed?" In Mr. Ernst's riddle, Bolt is a verb that means to take off. However, in the puzzle, it is actually a proper name for USAIN Bolt the Olympic champion sprinter.

The clue "One hanging around a dog kennel?" I thought it was a little far-fetched, as the answer is not actually the one hanging around the kennel. But here's my logic: an ID TAG is worn around the neck of a dog, and if the dog is in a cage, then so is the ID TAG.

Sorry, what are you saying? What song should I sing because LIN-Manuel Miranda is in the crossword? I couldn't be more agreeable.

Since the clue is written in Spanish, the answer must also be Spanish: each is an ESTADO or state.

Beware of this kind of clue if you're new to the group. What's in the middle of a plum? The question is not about the pit of the fruit. The middle of the word "prune" is the 'center,' which is pronounced with a LONG U.

What are the 'End Notes?' This puzzle contains CODAS.

"Taken into consideration?" It can mean an acknowledgement or that money is deposited in a bank.

You can laugh, but companies are becoming more intrusive into the lives of their employees. I could see them asking for their staff to undergo an "internal review" as part of a'short' internal review. You must submit to a compulsory MRI.

This clue is important. How did English poets write in the past? The writing styles of English poets from the past can be referred to. This is a case where we should think about the writing styles of these poets.


The answer is yes.

I'm glad to be back with The Times, this time with a Thursday puzzle that tested my constructor skills.

When using multiple rebuses, I discovered two bugs in Crossfire for Mac. The first glitch involves a limit of 10 rebuses. Crossfire will no longer recognize them after that and will call obvious fillable areas "unfillable".

Second, and this is something that the author of Crossfire claims is deliberate, any strings used as rebuses can no longer be used as fill in other parts of the puzzle. It makes sense to do this for rebuses that are three letters long or more, as it prevents the words from appearing in the puzzle by accident. For two-letter strings, this is unnecessary. With 23 pairs of words, the grid will be impossible to fill.

My workaround was to create a grid with 18x15 squares and insert the answers to each theme as single letters. I then added black squares to fill in any gaps, which could be removed later.

See diagram here

Once I had the fill I wanted, I rebuilt the 15x15 as a 15x15, and then inserted rebuses. The process worked but I had to have my brain explode several times.

Hey, builders, do other programs perform better? Want to work together on a Mac program? Happy puzzling!

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