004: “MOËT / ASTI” (8/26/17)

18695011_1_640x640Yyyyyello everyone! We have another episode for you! We taped it mid-summer (in Somerville, MA), but we are both busy folks so we’re only getting around to posting the final, edited version now. So why not round out your summer with 40 minutes of me and Lena talking, drinking, and laughing about (mostly) crosswords? We’ve got two segments for you this time around. First, Good Clues For Bad Fill (or New Clues For Tired Fill, or Just ‘Cause Your Word Is Bad Doesn’t Mean Your Clue Has To Be), in which we talk about the importance of thoughtful cluing, and give you some good examples of smart / playful clues for overly familiar answers (focusing on ELOPE). Then, our world-famous Drinking Segment, in which we sample MOËT and ASTI and discuss the history of their appearances in crosswords. Along the way, there is a surprising amount of impromptu singing. We hope you find this charming, or at least not unbearable.

There are a bevy of important musical references in this episode. Here they are, in order of importance:


  • 0:00-4:50: Lena and Michael, introduction
  • 4:50-19:10: Good Clues For Bad Fill (ELOPE)
  • 19:10-32:45: MOËT / ASTI
  • 32:45-36:53 (end): Lena and Michael sing Bond songs, wrap things up



  • If you would like to see / solve the Harry Potter puzzle by Finn Vigeland, HERE is the .pdf and HERE is the .puz version.
  • You can get the Natan Last-edited crossword collection, WORD: 144 Crossword Puzzles That Prove It’s Hip to be Square, here.
  • The brilliant [Turn-down for Watt?] clue came to us via Erik Agard, but it is the brainchild of Matt Jones.

As always, please send any fan/hate mail to rexparker at icloud dot com, and find us on Twitter at @dunzothud (official “On the Grid” handle), @rexparker (Michael), and @finitealright (Lena).

Also, you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes. Just search [on the grid podcast] in the store and we’re right there!

Thanks for listening,

Michael & Lena