BRING YOUR "A" GAME
Before I get started on today's review, I just want to draw attention to Colum's special report (previous post) on the Crossword Tournament From Your Couch. The event, that took place yesterday afternoon, was a really lovely thing. Congratulations to Tyler Hinman, Will Nediger, and Sam Ezersky and Madison Clague, the winners in the three categories, and congratulations too, to Kevin Der, who - they say - pretty much single-handedly wrote the code for the puzzle-solving platform in less than a week. That he and Finn Vigeland, and the constructors, and, I'm sure, others I don't know the names (or duties) of, could bring this from conception to reality in such a short time is incredible.
It was great to see so many familiar names among the contestants and in the chat stream on Facebook, and even though I don't know very many of them personally, I felt a real camaraderie in the group. We're in a pretty strange time right now, and this event provided a real service to many people. Thank you.
Now, on to today's offering from Mr. Quigley. I like it!
(I thought for quite a while just now about leaving the review just like that, but I will elaborate a bit.)
The repetitious theme is pleasing. Soothing, even. Just say them out loud and revel in what tiny differences you can force. AVOWELAVOWAL. Are they both schwas? Or can you justify a tiny difference between the E and the A? Or between the initial A, as an indefinite object, and the first A of avowal? ... ACQUIREACHOIR is tougher. Where are you going to bring in different sounds there? And in ARIVALSARRIVALS all you can do is add pauses. Am I making any sense? Anyway, I loved the theme.
A few other things: I love the way MTETNA (Sight from Catania, in brief) looks. "Spot for cannonballs" was a cute clue for POOL. I liked PUMMELS (Pounds), I always like reinforcement on different cooking terms (MILANESE (Dipped in egg and bread crumbs, then fried), and SATHOME (Didn't go out) is so very, very apt. :(
If I were an "Abolitionist Horace," I might try to root out PENTODE, ANIS, SERE, and NEHIS, but as I am, on the whole, a more lenient MANN, I say thumbs up.