Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thursday, April 25, 2013, Jeffrey Wechsler


Great start today with 1A: It has everything (COSMOS), and it just kept on keepin' on after that. Very little garbage in this one, and what there was (ESA) (for example) was clued very well (44A: What's that to José?). Some answers seemed a little odd (ONEHORSEPLOW, FENCERAIL, HROSSPEROT), but there was nothing wrong with them. They're perfectly acceptable, just, I don't know... odd.

It seemed surprisingly straightforward for a Thursday. No rebuses, no circled letters, no trickery of any kind. Just a simple PRESTOCHANGEO (Magician's phrase ... or a hint to part of 18-, 25-, 34- and 41-Across) theme where each theme answer contains the letters P,R,E,S,T, and O in different arrangements. It took a while to figure it out, and the last theme clue to fall for us was the revealer, so knowing it didn't help the solving at all. It was interesting to learn that the name of that 18A: Classic cartoon in which "Kill da wabbit" is sung to a Wagner tune was WHATSOPERADOC. Who knew? Aside from Jeffrey Wechsler, I mean.

It seems every puzzle will have its OLIOs, its ICCs and its LUANAs (that last one almost killing us until we finally figured out 28D: Lux.'s place (EUR)!), but this puzzle was far heavier on clever clues and interesting answers. 59A: Best way to defuse a bomb, for example (CALMLY). It reminds us of Tom Lehrer's classic song "L-Y" and the line "As you walk along the street / A porcupine you meet / How do you shake his hand when he says hi? / Carefully... carefully... carful ... L-Y"

- Horace


  1. 45:49
    I loved this one for many reasons, not the least of which was that I could quickly and accurately finish a Thursday puzzle. But like Horace mentioned, it was pretty straightforward. I loved COSMOS, of course, and oddly, I did know WHATSOPERADOC. I've often thought of, unfortunately when not on the computer, purchasing (assuming its availability) the entire Bugs Bunny Road Runner Show output as it has yet to be equaled. It took me a while to remember Ross Perot's first initial, and I had to fill in a few letters to get LOBSTERPOT, but all-in-all this was enjoyable. On to Friday.

  2. 21:07. ". . . a hint to part of 18-, 25-, 34-, and 41-Across" Yeah, right. These hints are VERY rarely really that for me. I tend to work from the NW to the SE, and the hints are often in the SE and always in the S. I generally have the answers filled in before I even see the hint. But this "hint" stands out as worthless. All of the theme answers are much easier than trying to find a scrambled PRESTO. I too liked this one, though. Tom, you are definitely correct about every puzzle having its less than stellar fill. That's one thing--one of the many--that Rex seems incredibly arbitrary about. OLIO and ESA are two of the worst offenders. EXO, LYS and MAR are pretty bad too. I just accept them, and give points for clever or unusual cluing. Agree about the great start. I starting somewhat boldly by entering COSMOS and CACHE immediately without any further corroboration, and the puzzle flowed smoothly from there. Loved seeing HROSSPEROT since we have one of his yard signs in our garage. One confession: I had the thing all filled in and was heading to the computer to check out how MONTY could be "Hall of fame" when the iconic Let's Make a Deal host finally came to me. ("quickly . . . finish"??)