Theme of the day
The theme of this puzzle is “Olympic Sport whose all-around competition is made up of the last parts of 19-, 26-, 44- and 52-Across”, or WOMEN’S GYMNASTICS. This revealer of 16 letters vertically traverses the four thematic entries, all of which end with the name of a particular gymnastics event.
I had no problem with the last three, but I admit that I did not know the 19A (SEALED BEAM). I have since done some reading on Wikipedia, and still don’t quite understand what that means, but luckily the crosses were all fairly guessable without any specialist car knowledge.
As I mentioned above, I like the fact that, with the possible exception of 26A, the meanings of the gymnastics events at the end of the thematic entries differ from their meanings in the context of gymnastics. A SEALED BEAM refers to a BEAM of light, rather than a BEAM of wood or other material that could be used as a balance BEAM. This kind of variety makes themed entries more fun to check out, as you’re not sure what to expect from the clues.
Exciting set of themes and hot topic aside, this grid is a beauty! It is deeply impressive that the revealing WOMEN’S GYMNASTICS directly traverses the four thematic inputs in symmetrical positions (i.e. 19A and 52A are rotationally symmetrical to each other because, if you rotate the 180 degree grid, they would swap places).
Usually, we see revealers running in the same direction as the theme entries, either down or, more often than not, all over the place. By crossing his revealer across the four themes, Mr. Buchbinder added an extra level of constraint to the grid. and to the thematic entries that he can use to build the puzzle, as they must contain the crossing letter of WOMEN’S GYMNASTICS exactly in the right place. This means that although many sentences end with the event at the end of 26A, the sentence should have an S in the fourth position to accommodate.
Another interesting point about this puzzle is that it’s a bit bigger – a square larger than most New York Times crosswords, to be exact. Since WOMEN’S GYMNASTICS is made up of 16 letters, the grid is 15×16 squares, which is a very unusual size.
Come on Team USA !!!! Can’t wait to see @Simone_Biles and #TeamUSA kick ass at #TokyoOlympics. This puzzle was accepted in January 2020 and then delayed – along with the Tokyo Olympics – until now.
I got the idea for the puzzle while I was sitting in my 3 year old daughter’s gymnastics class as I watched her spin through the different equipment. I had previously posted a New York Times crossword puzzle with a similar nested theme around bowling – which was fun to build – so I figured I would try again. Here ! Thanks to Will and the team for letting me work on a review to improve some fills. Hope the final puzzle is fun to solve and celebrates the hard work of all gymnasts.
As for the puzzle, aside from the theme, I liked being able to include GREEK GOD in a puzzle based on the Olympics. Other favorite entries include That’s A LIE and NBA MVP (originally listed as Title for King James?). Enjoy the puzzle (and a KIT KAT BAR)!
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