Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday, March 26, 2013, Samuel A. Donaldson and Doug Peterson


This was a pretty fun one. Got a good starting jolt with ACDC (1A: "Back in Black" band), then skipped over 5A: Biggest diamond?, and came right back with DESILU and THELORAX, the latter of which (14A: Title Seuss character who speaks for trees), I've only come to know lately through hearing about it in many different contexts. I don't remember ever reading this one (or having this one read to me) as a child.

I'm not sure what to call the theme today, but I chuckled at all of them. There is, however, one major problem, which I will soon address.

17A: "Wow, he survived!" - MANALIVE
26A: "Wow, you're a regular expert at turning left!" GEEWHIZ - now there's a word you don't hear very often, and I love its inclusion, but the main problem with this clue is that "gee" is used to turn animals to the right! It's opposite, "haw" is for turning left. Rather a glaring error, and one I'm sure Mr. Shortz will hear about. ("You'll say a better crossword editor has, maybe, sat a gee?")*
38A: "Wow, those reptiles have mad hops!" - LEAPINLIZARDS
52A: "Wow, look at that bovine idol!" - HOLYCOW
64A: "Wow, I'm standing next to Mr. Clooney himself!" - BYGEORGE

When I type them all out like that, it seems like rather a stupid theme, but I really did enjoy them while I was doing the puzzle. Of course, I was doing it at about 12:30AM, after having drunk a few beers, so my judgement could, I suppose, have been clouded.

Getting back to 5A: Biggest diamond?, the answer, ACE, was one of the more clever clues today. I liked seeing OMG (44A: Texter's expression of surprise) and having it cross DOH (42D: Homer Simpson's exclamation) was nice. I learned YENTA means (53D: Gossipy sort). I've never heard of GLENDA Jackson, but maybe in the future I'll remember that she's the 62A: Jackson with two Best Actress Oscars. 

Aside from the major error, it was ok. Not great, but good and fun.

- Horace

*I've since read that there is some confusion about this. Some say the meanings of the two words are reversed in Britain (because farmers sometimes walk(ed?) (does anyone still drive oxen thus?) on the right side of a yoked team, whereas American farmers, apparently, walk(ed?) on the left. The two words have consistent meaning (according to some sources I've read) relative to the farmer: "Gee" meaning "away from me [the farmer]" and "Haw" meaning "toward me"), but this is an American puzzle. Maybe they could've just clued it with "Wow, you're a regular expert at turning a draft animal!"


  1. 14:48 for me. I, too, noticed the "gee" problem. That's a common answer in many of the crosswords that I do, mostly to a correctly-worded clue. I have also read "The Lorax" though it isn't my favorite Suess (it's a later work and I find it rather preachy as opposed to charming and clever). "Yenta" is a well-known term, isn't it? Anyway, on to Wednesday. Hopefully this week I will be able to fill in more of the puzzles at week's end.

  2. Did you try the Sunday? I thought it difficult, but easier than Friday and Saturday, and there was a particular clue in it that I thought you and (and even) Sue would like.

  3. No, I didn't try the Sunday puzzle. We went up to Caribou, ME for the weekend and I was catching up on other things on Sunday. Are you referring to the clue having to do with Cabo?

  4. Yes. And I heard about that trip, and look forward to hearing more about it soon.

  5. I have heard that the NYT ran a correction about GEEWHIZ in a subsequent paper.

  6. Yes, the syndicated puzzle had "Wow, you're a regular expert at turning right!" This was a fairly nice Tuesday, I guess. Easy (9:58), but a clever theme for a Tuesday. I really dislike STN as an abbreviation for "station," though. Everybody knows the abbreviation is Sta. You can't just throw out any combination of letters in a word that you feel like. Is "AVN" OK as the abbreviation for "Avenue"? Lorax, I see, was published in 1971. May not have been widely available in Worcester-area bookstores for another year or two. It's certainly no surprise that I didn't read it. Kind of surprised that you and Sue missed it, though. Seuss definitely peaked in 1949 with "Bartholomew and the Oobleck."

  7. Nice that they fixed it. And yeah, they can be quite liberal with abbreviations when it suits them. "AVN" is, of course, not ok.

    Agreed about Oobleck. How creepy can you get?