JW is back with another of his intricate visual puzzles, this time presenting 5 different iterations of the word FILES set out in an X pattern indicated by circles. The only strictly theme fill is the reveal:
39A. '90s-'00s sci-fi hit ... or what this puzzle's circles graphically depict : THE X-FILES (9).
The genius comes in when you place the five Xs in the grid so that together they create super X. This is the result of connecting the Xs from NW to SE and SW to NE. But wait - there's more! If the circles in each set are seen as a series, going from left-to-right and top-to-bottom as follows:
you will notice that the letters in FILES rotate in strict sequence from one set to the next. That is, in the NW set, F is at position number 1, with the other letters following. In the NE set, the F has shifted to position 2, and the other letters follow. In the central set, the F is at position 3, and so on. Thus, the positioning of the letters in FILES is not a random scrambling, but a precise progression. The Z pattern he employed to present his pattern eluded me for a very long time.
Another technical marvel of construction.
We also have some fun fill, like ACCOSTS, ACETONE, AT A RACE, BAD SPOT, DOLEFUL, EATS OUT, PROPMAN, PUFFERS, UPLIFTS, GRAIN SILO, LEXINGTON but it pales in comparison to the architectural masterpiece. Another YMMV, I guess, but let's see.
1. Sound check item : AMP. Amplifiers have been known as amps for some time!
4. Went down : SANK. Simple, but so many SYNONYMS.
8. Euripides tragedy : MEDEA. Wife of Jason.
13. __ cross : TAU. LINK.
14. Skewer relative : PRONG. A skewer is single. The better QUESTION.
16. Hipbone-related : ILIAC. No more please.
18. Even less given to emotion : ICIER.
19. Quantum of solace? : SOFT C. This had me almost as confused as the title of the BOND movie. Here it just means the "C" in the word solace.
20. Leave in disarray, probably : RIFLE.
22. Copier room quantity : REAM. 500 sheets.
24. "Taking that as a given ... " : IF SO. Logic terminology.
25. Comfortable (with) : AT EASE.
27. Indisposed : ILL.
29. Dawn goddess : EOS. I had her many times a few years ago - in my puzzles anyway.
30. Bread component : CARB.
31. Toy used on flights : SLINKY. Not airplanes, stairs.
34. Rural road track : RUT.
35. Disney character who sings, "The cold never bothered me anyway" : ELSA.
36. Go Fish request : TENS. Random, could be ace, two, six or ten.
37. Turns red, maybe : RUSTS. Reddish, actually I believe we call it rust color.
42. 2006 demotion : PLUTO. Yes Mickey was mad at him. Oh, the planet!
45. Heracles' beloved : IOLE. The STORY is more complicated. I do like seeing the Greek name for Hercules in keeping with Friday. .
46. Very little : A DAB. A little one will do you.
50. Agent : REP. Another word that is now acceptable as a word not just an abbreviation.
51. 1962 "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" singer : MONROE. There is a longer version on You Tube.
53. Fla. resort : BOCA. This is a bit misleading as Boca is now a city of almost 100,000 permanent residents. LINK.
54. Natural resource : OIL.
55. Physics unit : ERG.
56. Shut off completely, as lights : KILLED.
58. Trident-shaped letters : PSIS. More Greek.
60. Order to Spot : STAY.
63. Sugar source : BEETS.
64. Civilian garb : MUFTI.
66. Pair in the score for Beethoven's Fifth : OBOES. This is not an additional reference to Marilyn.
68. Dandy : FOP. Similar to last week's TOFF.
69. Partner of ciencias : ARTES. Arts and Sciences...pretty inferrable.
70. Forward attitude : NERVE.
71. Pizzeria chain : UNO. They opened three franchises of this Chicago Pizzeria here in late 70s; they are all gone.
72. Stick dwellings : NESTS. I like this simple clue/fill.
73. Holden Caulfield, for one : TEEN. Catcher in the Rye.
74. Court call : LET. Tennis
1. Visiting Pimlico : AT A RACE. The Preakness.
2. __ counseling : MARITAL.
3. Blowfish : PUFFERS.
4. Furtive sorts : SPIES.
5. Golf chip path : ARC.
6. "The Big Sleep" genre : NOIR.
7. Walk-in joint? : KNEE. I am left with my creaky knees and sore hips.
8. Inaccurate introduction? : MIS. Do?
9. Wells race : ELOI. I thought Yvette Mimieux was beautiful, but enough is enough.
10. Suggests an alternative : DIFFERS.
11. Enjoys a buffet, usually : EATS OUT.
12. Engages with boldness : ACCOSTS.
15. Farm structure : GRAIN SILO.
21. Company that survived Canada's Prohibition : LABATT. Labatt survives Canadian Prohibition by producing full-strength beer for export south of the border and by introducing two "temperance ales" (brews with less than two percent alcohol) for sale in Ontario. When Prohibition was finally repealed in 1927, Labatt was one of the 15 remaining breweries — giving them a strong, fresh start. (Labatt material)
23. Jan. honoree : MLK.
26. Tequila sunrise direction : ESTE. Two days in a row.
28. Old plucked strings : LYRE.
32. Minuteman Statue city : LEXINGTON. There is this ONE. Or this OTHER. You can tell JW is not from New England.
33. About to receive : IN FOR.
38. Not to be wasted : USABLE.
40. Diamond plate : HOME.
41. Garlic relative : LEEK. All you need to know; marry a cook. LINK.
42. Stage employee : PROPMAN.
43. Down time : LEISURE.
44. Makes joyous : UPLIFTS.
47. Joyless : DOLEFUL.
48. Paint thinner solvent : ACETONE.
49. Dicey situation : BAD SPOT.
52. Hosp. areas : ORS.
57. "An Enemy of the People" playwright : IBSEN. If you want to study. LINK.
59. Editor's afterthought : STET.
61. Act as lookout, say : ABET.
62. Time long past : YORE.
65. Orbiting research facility: Abbr. : ISS. International Space Station.
67. "Fairest of creation," in a Milton classic : EVE. Paradise Lost No Will, either play or poem, but one of my favorites, John Milton.
“O fairest of all creation, last and best
Of all God's works, creature in whom excelled
Whatever can to sight or thought be formed, an enemy of the people
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!
How art thou lost, how on a sudden lost,
Defaced, deflow'red, and now to death devote?”
Another interesting Friday with most of the cluing fair, but the layers used to create the visual difficult to recognize. I struggled with the pattern. For those who do not like complicated themes, this was intricate but the grid could be filled without circles and without understanding or appreciating the skill needed to build this one. Thank you JW, and thank you all for stopping by. Lemonade out.