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Tomas Spiers author page

2 puzzles by Tomas Spiers
with Jeff Chen comments

TotalDebutLatestCollabs
212/13/202111/2/20221
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0101000
RebusScrabblePOW
11.522
Tomas Spiers
View these same grids with comments from:
Constructor (2)Jeff Chen (2)Hide comments

See the 7 answer words debuted by Tomas Spiers.

Collaborator: Ethan Zou
POW Wed 11/2/2022
TIDALIDOSBRAT
ABOVEHEHEROTI
FEREOROCHEIGOR
TIMPUPAEBEEME
ASIAMFLYOFF
CRIBLOOSENS
HAWEDLAYUPDAT
ALETBOXERFERY
RUEMOOLAFIECE
EMOBANDHAIR
VACAYSMESAS
AVESENOOBSPAZ
MOHSBORDETERIE
FREEUSEDAMINO
MEETTESSSALTS

★ Regular readers might be surprised that I picked today's as the POW! Not only is this rebus-weary solver wary of the genre, but having one on a Wednesday, when no one expects it?

That's NEITHER HERE NOR THERE. I had so much fun solving this one that I declare WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER.

I found today's solve so entertaining that I spent an hour figuring out why:

  • Great starter rebus. Right from the get-go, something was up. It's easy to pick out the common letters E and R, so along with the straightforward theme clues, things like ROGER FEDERER came easily.
  • Snazzy phrases. I recently got hooked onto a YouTube embiggenator show, after being rapt at the creation of the world's largest FERRERO ROCHER. Maybe nauseating, but also drool-worthy.
  • Solid rebus rationale. BOX ER = shove ER into a box. Yup.
  • OH HELL YEAH, those bonuses!
  • Themeless-level wordplay in the clues. This bball superfan loved describing a LAY-UP as an "underhanded move."

I have reservations about any sort of rebus on a Wednesday. I hear a lot of grumbling from rebus haters who say that what they like about crosswords is the simplicity of putting a single letter in a box, and I sympathize. However, rules getting broken is the price of creativity, and that's something to which any art form ought to aspire.

I'm not wild about featuring boxing, given the severity of the head injuries and even deaths. That said though, there was so much to enjoy here that it made it easy to throw in the towel of my hesitations. Knockout POW! debut.

POW Mon 12/13/2021
EBBSCRABDETER
AEROFOIEIMAGE
RAILROADSTATION
STEVEMETALLSD
LEAPICET
ANAMARKETCRASH
FARSWANTONYA
LOSSSPORTTORT
AMOURWIRETIE
CINNAMONBUNHAD
SPANEDGE
PAZIWISHEUROS
STOPDROPANDROLL
STOOLNILEUNDO
TASTYSNOWSEEP

★ I haven't been so happily stumped by "Name That Theme" in ages. RAILROAD STATION … MARKET CRASH … CINNAMON BUN? Could it be a "words that can follow X" theme ... nope. Their first words aren't synonyms, nor are their last. Perhaps there are words hidden in the middle of the themers? Nuh-uh.

I give. Tell me the revealer!

STOP DROP AND ROLL?

How does that …

Ah! RAILROAD STATION is a STOP, MARKET CRASH is a DROP, and CINNAMON BUN is a ROLL. Elation as the lightbulb finally flicked on!

I love that each of the three theme phrases is strong and in the language, plus they're all nouns. Verbs might have worked for any, like COME TO AN END, TAKE THE PLUNGE, or SHOOT CRAPS, so it's elegant to connect the themers further through consistency.

Solid gridwork, especially for a debut. With four themers, there's always room for at least two long bonuses, and BRIE LARSON and ANOTHER ONE hit that mark.

Most importantly for a Monday puzzle, Tomas took such care to avoid sticky globs of glue. Bryn MAWR might look unfamiliar to some. AERO is easy enough to figure out from etymology. Given such excellence in gridding, I'd suggest that Tomas try adding another set of long Downs in the SW and NE next time.

This finance guy never likes hearing about a MARKET CRASH, but he loves it when a theme crashes joyously over him. No CRABs today.