This web browser is not supported. Use Chrome, Edge, Safari, or Firefox for best results.

Billy Bratton author page

8 puzzles by Billy Bratton
with Jeff Chen comments

TotalDebutLatestCollabs
89/9/20215/11/20241
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0011114
ScrabDebutFresh
1.594973%
Billy Bratton
Puzzles constructed by Billy Bratton by year
Sat 5/11/2024
INTERNATTILA
MEETUPSMEOWED
CASHGRABINROAD
ATLASMADSTUDS
LEANTATASALDO
MRSTANTRICDON
LITTLETHING
GOTTHESHAFT
TOTALASSETS
CHANEWCARSPCP
OATSSHALEFARE
STYLEORASIREN
TOOOLDSAMESIES
ANGOLAMIXTAPE
REAPEDITSHOT
Tue 4/2/2024
RAFTBLABEMOJI
ELLATIARANAKED
DOORBUSTERDRINK
IHOPENOTONE
DADLINEOFCREDIT
ETCUIESODE
DARESMETTLEKIN
ETALHOLDITBIOS
CODMOTIONSEEME
ALIRUTHEWE
FLOORROUTINEICY
EMOORALEXAM
SIDEBMAYOCLINIC
AMIGOEVENTNANA
GOTATLADYEYES
Wed 7/19/2023
HADATBESOBTS
ARESOEXUDEOHO
DECKOFCARDSORB
ENOBIOMETAKES
SARCASMFEELME
ADHESIVETAPE
NOIRTRIMKEN
OHMSSPIELBEAD
OWEAKINARTS
BOARDINGPASS
ENCODEEXISTED
SITARAPRONOUI
ASHBOWLINGBALL
UMASNAILEASEL
LETEYESRETRY

Directive clues … some solvers call them a hit, some bare their fangs at them. (You can search for more using our Clue Finder, with the search string "it!")

Just roll with it, Jeff

[Get on with it!] is a perfect way to clue BOARDING PASS — everyone needs their BOARDING PASS to get on the plane. Unless you're my friend who recently sold his software startup and flies on a private jet now. I envy his success, but I just have to [Get over it!].

DECK OF CARDS gets a [Deal with it!], but it's not as sharp since you deal it, not deal with it. If the answer had been AUTOMATIC POKER HAND DISPENSER, that would have been much more accurate. Then again, a pun is supposed to make you groan, so I should probably just deal with it.

Similar issue with ADHESIVE TAPE — you stick (things up) with it, as my crafty daughter knows all too well. Scotch tape fragments multiply exponentially, flaunting conservation of matter. I attempt to stick with getting her to clean it up, but Tess sticking things up is a fundamental law of nature.

[Roll with it!] for a BOWLING BALL … why that and not a PAIR OF DICE? Or better yet for this mechanical engineer, BALL BEARINGS? Sigh, maybe I should just—

You know the impending punchline.

Well-made puzzle, with plenty of juicy bonuses like the OH WOE IS ME / I MEAN THAT pairing. For those solvers that don't connect with the theme, these long bonuses are a SUREFIRE way of tamping down the SARCASM.

Fri 4/14/2023
TWITRPGADAMS
OHMEMUSICVIDEO
PIERONAGOODDAY
STANDPATNCISLA
YENOUTGNAT
STEEPCREDTMI
POTSYOUDOTHAT
JASONELMTURKS
ICANTSTOPOBOE
FEYMAINPAINS
PADSSISESP
SHTETLMINTOREO
LOVETOHATEHONK
APPLETINISHOSE
TIGERTENIMED

Such a chatty puzzle: I MEAN TO SAY that DOESN'T MATTER — I CANT STOP. MAKES SENSE … YOU DO THAT. I love that breezy feel in my Friday themeless.

Fun foodie mini-theme, too, with the millennial calling card of AVOCADO TOAST, with an APPLETINI and a MINT OREO (probably all millennialed-up into something that costs $20). What is it with this generation and their desire to pay exorbitant prices for a one-dollar avocado and a twenty-cent piece of bread?

(Fine, I ordered AVOCADO TOAST the other day. And it was delicious.)

Interesting to include both MUSIC VIDEO and TUBI. I've only heard of the latter through crosswords … I would note that it seems like it should be a MUSIC VIDEO channel for tubas, but I'd get heckle(phone)d.

Speaking of things I didn't get:

  • ETON is not a competitor to rugby but to Rugby, the British school that apparently spawned rugby!
  • [Key collaborator] is PEELE, as in Key and Peele. I avoid horror movies like a zombie apocalypse, so Jordan PEELE isn't as familiar to me, while this "Parks and Recreation" fan rooted so hard for Donna and Joe.
  • I'm not ashamed to say that I'm something of a "Tom and Jerry" aficionado. (Okay, maybe a little.) Not knowing if the feline friend was TAPSY or TOPSY made me all TOPSY-turvy. Ah me. I mean, OH ME!

Such a pleasant way to ease into the weekend, especially with great wordplay like [Walk on water?] describing a PIER walkway.

Sat 12/31/2022
SPARSEFANBASES
WISETOIDEALIST
INKPENTOADETTE
SCREWMIRTHBEN
HEELFINEASYET
ENDMRTSHIA
DEDICATEARTE
ZIGGYSTARDUST
TIRESCRAPPED
VIDSTOYERE
BUSEDOWOWBRAN
ESEDRAINKRAFT
READLIPSKEENLY
GUMMEDUPONETON
SPYVSSPYSODOPE

A month ago, a kid I helped out through a foster care non-profit got back in touch, asking for some advice. It was fun to reconnect … until his dumbfounded silence when I said I couldn't review his portfolio right away since I didn't have an Instagram account. "What, are you not even on REDDIT?" he asked mockingly.

If you have to ASK

SO DOPE is right. And not in the good way. (Do the kids these days still say "da bomb" and SO DOPE?)

Thankfully, this dope's gaping lack of knowledge in pop music didn't stop ZIGGY STARDUST from coming to mind. No BAD HAIR DAYs for David Bowie's persona! A couple of other great entries in SPY VS. SPY and the old-timey PINCE NEZ and ESPERANTO — fun pairing of two things that time has passed by.

YouTube influencers sometimes have bigger FAN BASES than you might imagine — Mr. Beast recently surpassed 100 million subscribers. He's been quoted as being worth over a billion dollars and has expressed interest at future presidential run. I wouldn't be surprised at all if a Mr. Beast / PewDiePie ticket won in 2040.

Usually, I discount add-a-preposition phrases, but GUMMED UP is so much more vivid than other ___ UP phrases. Unfortunately, with so much SOAP UP / USE UP / SAT UP along with ACT ON / SIT BY, it would have been WISE TO massage out several of these.

Solid Saturday challenge that didn't MCGRIDDLE me too badly, especially since I've played as TOADETTE many times in my life.

Sat 11/12/2022
HATNOUSEKOFI
OTRAANNOYIRAN
THATSMYCUEWEDS
WACOTEXASDIODE
ANTMANPAPITIA
RDSLOBAPCHEM
BANANASPLIT
YOGASESSION
ZOOMMEETING
LAURIEANDMEG
OMGTSARGOSOLO
ABOVEGUILTTRIP
DOTEKINDASORTA
UNITALIENPIES
PITSTENSEEST
Sat 2/19/2022
AWRATSSCORES
BEARHUGCHROME
REVEALEDRIBBED
UZIIKNEWITBRA
PENDSIGEPCLAN
TREEDURNTOILS
BASSETHOUND
PAROLEBOARD
MAKEDEMANDS
HIRESVINSERVE
OLAYRELAYSOIL
HESWELLNOWUSE
ORIGINSADISTIC
HUTONESERPENT
ONEDGELEASES

Sick-looking grid, indeed! And more to the point, it's one that plays with constructors in a SADISTIC way. It first debuted back in 1997, the great Manny Nosowsky featuring NEVER SAY DIE, and it's been used several times since, Joon Pahk's BEER GOGGLES / GOING STEADY pairing the latest.

(You can hit the gray "Analyze this puzzle" button at the bottom of this page and scroll down to "Identical grids" to find the other instances.)

Billy nailed the center, six for six on excellent marquee entries. PAROLE BOARD got some GENIUS LEVEL cluing. Misdirecting toward a carpool group instead of a group of those who commute sentences … that's criminal-level wordplay.

AW RATS felt appropriate for that top left corner. A classmate of mine used to listen to a lot of WEEZER, so I at least recognized the name, but AH RATS crossing HEEZER seemed equally plausible.

This grid arrangement is so tough to fill because of the SERPENTine nature of its eternal flow, not a dead-end in sight. You never have the luxury of filling one subregion independent of the others. Cleanly incorporating ROB BLIND, PARASITE, BEAR HUG is an excellent result for this layout, but I tend to want to experience more snazzy material in my themeless corners.

Thu 9/9/2021
MARSHABANDBS
ALEKEGSCADBURY
KILOMETERSDAVIS
EMIRNOLESSADO
MEETDOLTSLAP
ENDRADIANMILLS
TORISNAIL
NUDESSERVO
MORNSTAFT
GRAMFOOLISHCOP
REMYCAKEHOPI
ODEJOANNEOUTS
CONVERTTOMETRIC
ENROLLSWELLSEE
REALLYDIYERS

I used to listen to tons of MILES DAVIS back when I played in jazz bands. His album "Miles Smiles" sure would have been different in METRIC.

RADIAN is a metric unit? It's been a few decades since I've taken any math classes, so I figured there had to be some sort of two-factor trickery going on, since both radians and degrees are taught in American trig. Let's see … anagrams? RADIANS does rearrange to SAD RAIN!

More appropriately, RADIAN mixes into A DRAIN — as in, that theory down a drain. Although the Wikipedia page doesn't explicitly call out RADIANs as a METRIC unit, it does say that it's an SI unit.

Audacious grid, especially for a debut. Themelesses can't have any more than 72 words, yet this themed puzzle contains only 68. Only a small subset of themeless constructors can fill a 68-worder with both cleanliness and color.

I would rarely tackle filling a 68-worder with four long seed entries. Granted, you can switch the placements of RADIAN MILLS and GRAM FOOLISH, and you can shift blocks around infinitely, but it's still a ridiculously difficult task. I'm impressed that Billy was able to keep his short glue to a bare minimum — with only ERO, this is way higher on the cleanliness scale than most 68-word themelesses.

Not a lot of color to boast of, though. I did enjoy OF COURSE, CADBURY, TOP TIER, and it's nice to get AGENDA, JOANNE, MAKE ME, MARSHA. I have a feeling so much more sparkle could have been featured in a 74-word grid, though.

I was so confused by DEGREEs to RADIANs; that threw my entire solving experience off-kilter. Now that I've mulled it over more, I like the brave approach. Instead of going with something more mundane, say HALF LITER (from HALF PINT) or MILLILITER OF PREVENTION, pushing the boundaries by omitting the obvious volume measure in favor of angular measurement feels appropriate to math. I have the fortune to be friends with many mathematicians, and most of all them are … particular. In a good way!

XWord Info Home
XWord Info © 2007-2024, Jim Horne
80 ms