Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wednesday, May 8, 2013, Bruce Venzke


EELER (38A: Lamprey hunter) makes an appearance! (Although I think technically, lampreys are not eels.) And didn't we just see NAW (39A: Hillbilly negative) very recently in a puzzle? Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it seems an uncommon word, and not all that crosswordy, so you'd think it wouldn't show up very often. Maybe I just don't know yet what's crosswordy and what isn't...

Enjoyed the clue 58A: Famous rescue vessel for ARK. Didn't particularly love LAVES (69A: Employs soap and water). IDI AMIN (6D: With 25-Down, 1979 Exile) really has no place in a puzzle devoted to Mother's Day, and that top middle section has three proper names stacked side-by-side. Doesn't seem right.

I learned today that 10D: G.I., in old slang is DOGFACE, and I love the directness of 21D: What "D" means (POOR). But having OHME (41D: Words of woe), not only in the same puzzle as, but almost right next to OHOS (47D: Cries of discovery) seems a little weak. And that first one really ought to be "Ah, me" shouldn't it? I didn't hate this puzzle, but some things just seemed a little off. Like INCA (57D: ____ Empire (bygone domain)). Isn't it more common to say "Incan Empire?"

I think we're going to call this one a draw.

- Horace

p.s. When we opened this puzzle on the NYT Puzzle app on our iPad Mini, it had an extra message that read:

"The print version of this puzzle contains the following additional clue after the Across and Down clues:"

And all there was was the "OK" button. No extra clue.

After reading other blogs, I have learned that we should have seen: "Diagonal 1. Annual message."

The diagonal message, which I didn't actually notice, reads: HAPPYMOTHERSDAY. Now I see why things might have felt a little odd in this one. It's a nice touch, that message, and I have to cut him a little slack, but it's still a draw.


  1. 22:04
    I found some of this awkward, such as SHIPPEDGIFT or MAILEDCARD (needed an “A” in the middle), but other than that it was relatively easy. At first I was trying to think of another city on Oahu on the clue for a city SE of Honolulu, but I quickly figured out that it was HILO located on the Big Island. I didn’t know 9A “A Passage to India” woman, but with the crosses had no trouble filling it in. (I also learned the term DOGFACE during this puzzle.)

    Lampreys aren't eels, but maybe EELERS fish for them anyway. ARK was nice, but I thought that Horace doesn't like bible references. And also, I originally filled in AHME for the OHME answer, realizing that it was incorrect once I got UNSTOPS.

  2. 16:08 (I continue to be impressed by how well Shortz manages the difficulty of these puzzles.) Tom, NAW is very new to puzzledom (and I must say, I sincerely hope that its duration therein is brief. What a ridiculous word, and I doubt very much that "hillbillies" really say that.) I thought the same thing about IDI AMIN! Thought DOGFACE was terrific. That word is in a great scene from the movie Stand By Me. One of the kids recites a monologue in which he fancies himself a soldier. Something like "Dogface Eddie DuChamps stands watch . . ." Finally, I really hate any answer that contains any variant of "OH" or "AH." Almost always extremely weak.

  3. Yes, it's amazing to me as well, the varying difficulty thing. Our average times grow consistently through the week. It's very interesting that he can maintain it. I wonder if his methods are known, or if he'll be publishing them in his retirement, if and when that ever comes?