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LAT Fri. 7/10 Ken Bessette

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"Inning trio?"    ENS [I was thinking "outs."]
"Ones place"    TILL [dollars --- note lack of apostrophe]
"Words after a holdup"    ATLAST [think traffic tie-up]
"Heavy brew, and clue to theme"    STOUT ["st out" of theme phrase]

I count 6 random W's in this grid --- an oddity.

Nit to pick: "Of little use" for NOHELP probably should be "Useless."

What's a "random W?"

Sorry --- by random W I meant not being part of a theme word or phase. 


Thanks for replying.  I hope I'm not missing anything too obvious, but I'm
still confused.  What does it mean to be a part of a theme word or phrase?
With typically only three or four theme entries, it seems that most of
the grid would not be part of the theme.

And a follow-up question, if 6 random words is an oddity, would 12, or
some other number, become a problem?

Thanks again,


If a theme, that is five or six long answers relating in some way each other, were to include, say, walls; one would expect to see at least five or six W's in the long answers [walnuts, wall hangings, wall banger, walleye, wallpaper].  But in this puzzle, W's were not endemic to the theme.  Nevertheless, there were six W's used in this grid.  Now W's are not among the most used letters in our language, so to see as many as there were in this grid is unusual.  I'll bet in the next hundred 15x15 grids you will not find as many "unrelated" W's.  (But now, because I said it, there might be one next week.)

This is not a qualitative observation, and I would love to see a puzzle with 20 W's, though perhaps not all editors would agree.

I hope this helps.



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