John Farmer is one of my favorite constructors but he's screwing up my database with his Thursday, May 29 puzzle (answers.) The gimmick, and it's a good one, is that you read the answers differently depending on your perspective, depending on whether you're looking across or down. While clever and fun and all those other things that other solvers care about, it also means that my database answers are only correct for some of the clues. I chose to make the across answers correct so some of the the downs are wrong.
There is a precedent for this. In other words my database was already messed up, so I guess I shouldn't be too harsh on Mr. Farmer. Ken Stern's 2007 Hallowe'en puzzle had squares that had to be read TRICK one way and TREAT the other. Again, only the across clues are correct in my database.
The gimmick gives us a double kick. First, there's the "aha, it's a rebus" moment, and then there's the realization that even that isn't quite right. Fun times.
Guess what the most popular spectator sport in America is. It's not baseball or football or basketball or, for reasons that completely escape me, not even hockey. It's Nascar racing. If you find that hard to believe, you live in a blue state. I know only one fact about this sport, that there's a Bobby named UNSER. This information helped me not at all, as it appears that first name is not unique. Bobby ISAAC is pictured above. He doesn't look too happy, does he? Driving around in circles will do that to you.
IN SCALE was tougher than it ought to be because we just had TO SCALE. ERIE makes its 261st appearance but only the third as a language reference. Those who know me can guess my favorite clue. "A Baldwin" turned out to be PIANO, which is a terrific clue for my main instrument.