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1 puzzle by Kathy Bloomer
with Jeff Chen comments

TotalDebutCollabs
111/12/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0100000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58000
Kathy Bloomer
Mon 11/12/2018
WADEWNBASCRAP
OPELHOERUHURA
KEELSOVERCANTS
STICKAFORKINIT
SONWEEYES
ALIPELEBRO
GAGMEWITHASPOON
OGLEAAAEBAY
GOUNDERTHEKNIFE
SOUSADESST
ATENRAINT
COMETOTHETABLE
ENOLAPUTONAIRS
RAJASALOULEGO
BLINKRUNTLUST

A proper debut! How well-mannered, using colorful phrases with a FORK, SPOON, KNIFE, wrapped up by a call to COME TO THE TABLE. I liked how the TABLE was set following all the rules, the fork going on the (racing to read Wikipedia) FORK to the left of the knife, and the KNIFE and SPOON set to the right of the FORK. Just like at my dinner table!

Okay fine, I never use a KNIFE. That's what the side of the FORK (and your teeth) are for. Don't get me started on the uselessness of spoons. Drink straight from the dang bowl, and you have fewer utensils to wash.

I have hundreds of these genius ideas that save oodles of hours.

(My wife begs to differ)

I usually don't like seeing long theme answers run vertically — horizontal ones are so much easier to read — but today I would have liked an exception. Pretty much every table setting diagram I reviewed (in my hopes of pretending that I'm no barbarian) are set with the utensils pointing up.

Oh, and how cool would it have been if there had been a circular "plate" made of black squares right in the center of the puzzle! That would have made for a very difficult grid, but I think it would have been doable.

Okay, this grid is already hard enough to fill cleanly. For example, check out the west region, almost always a trouble spot with long themers. I think the black squares ought to have been rejiggered to avoid the troublesome ?G?U sequence. When your only options are IGLU (ugly variant) and OGPU, it's time to restart with a modified grid skeleton. There would still likely be some trickiness in that west region, but I'm sure it could have been done with a much more minor ding.

Overall, I appreciated the proper ordering of the place settings, as well as the great phrases. More testing on the grid skeleton before filling would have helped, though.