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

Thumbnails

1 puzzle by Billy Ouska
with Jeff Chen comments

TotalDebutCollabs
112/24/20200
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0000100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.46000
Billy Ouska
View these same grids with comments from:
Constructor (1)Jeff Chen (1)Hide comments

See the 4 answer words debuted by Billy Ouska.

Thu 12/24/2020
BASHAMBERSPIN
ARIALUIGIURDU
LETTHEGOODSROLL
MASTERSDIESEL
RATBALD
WAITSFORNOONE
CATCHEPICSORE
RISKSLIDEPLUS
USESTONETRIPS
TAKEONESSWEET
IRISAID
STATICESCAPES
CANTFINDTHETIME
ACNESEINEONME
MOANMAMASREAD

Billy did so many things well in his debut. Drilling down:

Great revealer. CAN'T FIND THE TIME is a snappy phrase, and it describes the theme concept well. It's not perfect since TIME isn't as much "misplaced" as "lost" or "canceled," but it does the job.

Variety. Note how Billy picked three positions for his lost TIME. Middle of LET THE GOOD TIME ROLL, beginning of TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE, and TAKES ONES SWEET TIME. A bit of everything not only helps keep the idea fresh, but it makes for a less predictable, more fun challenge.

Humor in results. Bowling ball avalanche, a bored server, and a date. It's not Cedric the Entertainer, but it does entertain.

Quality of fill. Billy starts behind the eight-ball, using Matt Ginsberg's list as his master. I love Matt's comprehensive database and use it all the time, but only for specific searches, not for grid-level testing. It contains everything under the sun — including a whole lot of junk — so many new constructors who use this as their master show me unpublishable work. Billy's is far from that, some nice bonuses in HAT TRICK, STOICISM and PREDATOR, with little glue. All in a 72-word grid — few experienced constructors could do that!

I did hitch on a few minor points, like RIDDANCE running through GOOD, which threw me off. Will Shortz doesn't care about duplicating grid entries in clues, and I usually don't either, but GOOD crossing RIDDANCE (with "good" in the clue) felt confusingly thematic.

If the theme had tickled my desire for a Thursday trick — and that's not everyone's preference, as Will has rightfully pointed out in the past — this could have been in POW! territory. Excellent debut.