Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014, Todd Gross


It didn't come into play while solving, but we really like the word loop theme in this one, now that we see it. It's elegant, really, as it runs around the perimeter, and the fill, with one or two exceptions (RUPIAH (54A: Indonesian currency) and ADRIP (69A: Leaking, as a faucet) (yuck)), isn't badly strained. It's not terribly inspired, mind you, but it's not terrible, and, like I said, the theme is really kind of cool.

I had no idea that one of the pigs in Animal Farm was modelled on LENIN (45A: Inspiration for Old Major of "Animal Farm"). Interesting. It seems I missed a lot of the specific subtexts in that book, actually. I mostly remember the old horse, Boxer. Poor guy… and speaking of fictional characters, it's cool that WILEE (1D: ____ Coyote (toon)) gets into a grid, but it would have been much cooler if he were fully in there, instead of just partially so.

CORD (13D: Telephone attachment) will soon be obsolete, if it's not already (although, I answered a corded telephone while writing this review!).

Actually, the more I look at this, the more junk I see (AWEE, OBER, ISE, LETA, ORME), but there are also some nice downs. SVELTE (27D: Gracefully thin), SEXUAL (49D: ____ relations), NEUTRAL (46D: Car gear). The clues aren't much, but hey, it's Tuesday.

So, let's call it a wash. Decent theme, less than perfect fill.

- Horace

p.s. I learned from the Crossword Fiend blog that the Os used in the word loop (as the only vowel) are absent from the rest of the puzzle. OK, that will strain the fill a little, so I guess we have to be even more forgiving of the junk. But at what point does the sacrifice of fill at the expense of a trick become too much to bear?


  1. Around 9:00 (wall clock timed). Rex really lambasted this one. I guess I'm kind of on the fence, leaning toward fairly unimpressed. Never mind sacrificing the fill, the theme words are generally insipid. I mean, seriously, WOOD, WOOT, KOOK, TOOT, HOOT?? I too loved seeing one of the great cartoon names and characters of all time, WILEE; and I always like a Simpsons reference--NEDS. SEXUAL relations (which I did not have with that woman . . . . Miss Lewinsky) is indeed great and should titillate our friend Huygens. The longs are especially bereft: BENEATH, LISTENTO, I include NEUTRAL (lousy cluing), WEMADEIT (seriously?!), ABSENT (I know it's only Tuesday, but "Part of AWOL"). I actually don't even mind RUPIAH. Shouldn't the official currency of the world's 4th most populous country be fair game. IMARET is, I suppose, crosswordese, but I have always liked the word. "No idea" about Old Major being inspired by Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (better known to the world as Lenin . . .)?? What did you think the novel was about? What were you smoking during 8th Grade English class?

  2. I like CARWAX as a certain paint protector. I have never heard of nor seen WOOT. Maybe, but methinks it's awfully weak. LENIN, I knew.

  3. 7:12. It's a clever idea, the word loop, but the strain it puts on the rest of the puzzle makes for a pretty poor overall grid. The one clue I liked: "Suit company founded in Australia" - somehow it took me a long time to recognize that they meant swimsuit. I thought to myself, SPEEDO makes business suits? That's odd. Speaking of which, ODDER, ADRIP, AWEE? These should not be in a NYT crossword. WOOT I can accept. Nice to see TITO Puente in there: reminds me of seeing him at the Charles Hotel some years back.

  4. I took up the book quite late in life, which might explain my casual reading. I say "might." And I, too, am fine with WOOT. It's actually kind of refreshing as fill. And, yes, the Tito Puente show was great to see. My dentist was at that show!

  5. 11:20
    I starred 49D ____ relations (SEXUAL), already mentioned by ET59 as being something that would titillate me, and 51D Suit company founded in Australia (SPEEDO), already mentioned by Colum, for the same reason as his. I enjoyed the WORD LOOP and am Facebook friends with people that say "WOOT."

  6. I've been thinking about w00t (it's correctly spelled with zeros instead of Os, isn't it?) and wondering if a "leet speak" puzzle could be made to work, with the numbers working as letters one way, and numbers the other way. Probably not, but it might be a fun challenge to work on someday.

  7. I thought that "woot" was more of a slangy cheer, but I'm not a teenager, so I'm not sure.