Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013, David Levinson Wilk


Started out right away liking this one. Not because of 1A: 'Twilight' author Stephenie - I didn't know that one, or the SETH 6A: Green of TV's "Robot Chicken," or the LBJ 10A: Texas' ____ Ranch... Come to think of it, it took a little searching to get my first answer, which I think was LUMP (20A: Mattress problem). The next one was ALGIERS (25A: Setting of Camus's "The Stranger"). I was pretty proud of remembering that one. Actually, I put in Algeria, first, but corrected it when I got CUR 19D: Snarler, of a sort. Before we go any further, I'd just like to comment on the use of apostrophe ess after Camus, but not after Texas. Interesting, no?

Anywho, even though I didn't immediately figure out "18A: With 50-Across, how one can tell that this puzzle was up all night waiting to be solved?", the very idea made me smile. I like that the theme was announced in two 12s, and then there was a bonus 15 running right through the middle. What I'm trying to say is that the very structure of the puzzle won me over before I even solved anything. Does that make sense? Am I crazy? Oh, and the clue 32A: Not merely a (THE). Even though I got it immediately, it was still a satisfying, amusing clue.

Maybe that's what it's all about, the cluing. Like 33A: Genteel affairs (TEAS), and 34A: Firebrand (AGITATOR). Who ever gets to use or hear the word "Firebrand?" It's lovely. And 42A: Some of Vanna's letters? (ENS). When I first read it, I thought it could be any letters at all, but, of course, they come from the name Vanna, as they must. 65A: A shot in the arm, say (DOSE), is also nice, and 25D: Side effect of a withdrawal? (ATMFEE) was Frannie's favorite.

I'm fussy, though, when it comes to certain things. For example, I'm fine with YEROUT for 24D: Ump's cry (and I'm pretty sure that EnglishTeacher59 will be reminded of the old Intellivision baseball game, as we were), but for 3D: "Bleah!", I prefer the MAD Magazine spelling of "Yecch" with two Cs. And I expect a W in front of RASSLE (5D: Scrap). (Another nice clue for that, though.)

Overall, we still enjoyed this one quite a bit. Easy-ish, but fun. What's wrong with that once in a while?

- Horace


  1. >1:00:00
    I timed over twenty minutes at home in the morning but forgot to write it down, then took another 40+ minutes during the day to finish. Actually i'd about given up with less than half of the puzzle solved, but instead of that I figured, what the heck, I'd just start shoving stuff in there, and it worked out. I should do that more often. I enjoy the continual use in general of underused letters in these puzzles, like Zs, for example, and Xs (though not the latter in this particular grid). And Horace is on the mark with simple but elegant clues like 32A Not merely a THE. Though I don't agree with the "easy-ish" comment, I do agree with the "fun" one. Looking forward to Friday.

  2. Yes, shoving things in there sometimes works surprisingly well with puzzles, and it's so easy to do with the iPad that I sometimes wonder if I'm getting spoiled. I try to do at least a few puzzles each week on paper to keep myself honest. Still, I think the lesson is that quite often ones instincts are right. Of course, there will be times that that is not true, and a wrong answer shoved into a grid can sometimes make things very difficult....

    Anyway, on the "easy-ish" front, I really should credit Frannie more than I did above. I handed her the puzzle after one pass on all the clues, as is my wont, and at that time, honestly, there wasn't a whole lot filled in. By the time she passed it back to me there were only a handful of squares left open!