Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 2013, Kevan Choset


Ahhh, another joint solve after coming home from a bar. Since englishteacher59 likes to comment with alarming frequency about his exact location while doing the puzzle, I will add that Frannie and I solved this one while lying in bed. TMI? Well, I figured I've got to do something to try to get the numbers up. To increase the traffic on this blog, I mean. Of course.

Anyhoo, I liked this puzzle just fine. I don't remember seeing Mr. Choset's name before, and this puzzle actually did feel somewhat fresh. The clue for DLI (11A: 551, once), for example. We've seen Roman numerals many, many times, but this simple change of wording was enough to make us smile and comment on it. I also enjoyed DOOHICKEY (11D: Thingamajig) and THRACIANS (32D: Allies of the Trojans in the "Illiad.") It's not "The Illiad?" Hmm... I've got to look that up. Why not just say "in 'Illiad'" if it's not? I started thinking about the addition of "the" back when I realized that the name of the band "Talking Heads" was not "The Talking Heads," which, come to think of it, was probably about the time that the live album titled "The Name of this Band is Talking Heads" came out. Go figure.

I like that we have another cooking word to learn today (because I, unlike Frances and Huygens, actually enjoy cooking) in SHIRR (34D: Bake, as eggs). Coincidentally, Frannie got PEANUTOIL (33D: What pad Thai is often cooked in) immediately, not because she has ever made pad Thai, but because she eats it about once per week. Mmmmm.... spicy tofu pad Thai.....

For all the good stuff, there was at least as much crosswordsy stuff (ARCO, REA, ARR, BEHAR, VSO, ENTR, SIB, ASTI...), but I enjoyed the theme, and I loved the movie IHEARTHUCKABEES (38A: 2004 film featuring Dustin Hoffman), so I'll let it go.

Lastly, such is the lopsided "right brain" nature of my brain that I asked Frannie repeatedly what "Line Art Thinking" was. Luckily, she's more left-brained, and she's also kind, so she didn't mock me too much.

- Horace

p.s. I looked at the Wordplay blog to see about whether or not this was a debut puzzle, and, well, it's not. This is Mr. Choset's 25th puzzle in the NYT, but it's the first of his that we've seen, so, he's still new to us. He talks a bit about this puzzle on the WP blog, if you're interested in that kind of thing.


  1. 22 minutes
    I had some trouble with IHEARTHUCKABEES, since I never saw it, but since Horace enjoyed it I suppose we should put it on our queue. Hmmm..."Line Art Thinking"? Well. I'd also never heard of SHIRR. Other than the two above-mentioned (I don't count LINEARTHINKING as having been mentioned, since I didn't), this puzzle wasn't any problem. I always enjoy seeing a mention of ISAACS Asimov and Newton, though the cluing is never too interesting. I believe it was either yesterday's or Sunday's puzzle, possibly in the Worcester Telegram, that mentioned something about sci-fi writer Isaac, with the answer being ASIMOV, which was better. I also enjoyed the mention of MIDDLEEARTH, being somewhat nerdy. I actually thought this was a pretty decent challenge for a Tuesday. Normally I blast through them much faster.

  2. SHIRR is somewhat common in crossworddom. Or should that be crosswordom? Like Huygens, I found this harder than the average Tuesday. Tough start with AHORA (Who you callin' a ho'?!) and ARCO. And HALAL probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of special meal options. I liked the theme just OK. I would have been more impressed had the EARTHs actually been in the exact middle of each answer. Maybe next time Choset, you veteran puzzler, you. How bad is STPAT for "March honoree, for short"?? How great is ATEIT for "Failed in a big way"?? How happy are crossworders that Sheri Oteri made it semi-big? Actually, I guess I'm starting to learn ARCO. Interesting question about Homer's work. I have just been reading through Richmond Lattimore's introduction to his translation, and I am still not quite sure, but it seems that "Iliad" is the preferred title. No way to know for sure, I suppose, and it doesn't really matter. I don't think we have a titled copy in Homer's hand, do we?

  3. I meant to say that my first thought for 45-Across, "Anderson Cooper, e.g.," six letters, was GAYMAN. Is that bad?