Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013, Todd Gross and David Steinberg

approximately 0:30:00

When I first saw the circles, I thought of Superman's shield, but as soon as I had a few letters at the end of 20A: 23-Across singer (MARILYNMONROE), I filled in the name and all the circles without hesitation. Well, at first I had entered it with no apostrophe and an exclamation point at the end, but when that didn't hold, I changed it to the apostrophe - which, by the way, isn't needed, I don't think, for the ABC'S answer. And really, HE'S (58D: "____ a Rebel") isn't the strongest fill either.

Frannie thought it inelegant to have the theme start on the second square of the clue, and I've got to agree. But all was not terrible. SWM (6A: Guy seeking love letters?), for example, was clever, and TARTUP (48A: Decorate flashily, informally) was fun. SLATHER (55A: Lay on thick) is a good word, and the clue for ARIA (24D: Something for trill-seekers?) was awfully cute.

There was, however, a little too much ARR, EXE, URI, AHN(?), and OUS for it to be thoroughly enjoyable. (IOU, on the other hand, was clued beautifully, so I'll let that go.) If Frannie hadn't pulled SNERD (4D: Dummy of old radio) out of her hat, we might never have gotten that NW corner finished. Had "Emeer" (variant, I know...) for OMANI at first, and couldn't think of MOC until it was practically there. Never heard of CAPEK, but Frannie also remembered KIKIDEE once that seemed the most likely. Still, the program we use (iPad app) wouldn't accept "A" for the apostrophe, so we were never able to submit it, and that leaves a bad taste.

- Horace

p.s. Odd symmetry in this one. The 180ยบ, or whatever it's called, looks strange.

p.p.s. It seems to happen somewhat frequently that a constructor has the actual and the syndicated puzzle on the same day. That is true today of David Steinberg.


  1. 37 mins
    I, too, originally put an exclamation point at the end of the circles, but, having listened to SNERD on the Sirius old-time radio channel many times, realized that was a mistake rather quickly. I enjoyed REEKED (Frannie probably didn't) and, like Frannie, knew KIKIDEE right away. One of the advantages of filling this in on paper is being able to put in the appropriate symbol quite easily. I don't know why the electronic versions don't allow that sort of thing. And I meant to lament the other day on the cent sign not being above the "6" as on the old typewriters, though I do find the ^ more useful as a math symbol, so I'm not too torn on this. One would think that there would at least be one (a cent sign) available in MS Word's "Symbols", but I couldn't find one.

  2. OK, let's start with the only really noteworthy aspect of this puzzle: I do not at all like the apostrophe. I know Steinberg is one of those young constructors who are trying to push the boundaries, but crosswords with letters in every square have been around and have been successful for a long, long time. As a 44-year solver, I am not longing for puzzles with something other than letters in the answers. Yes, I enjoy the Thursday rebuses as much as the next guy, but they appear as part of a theme. This apostrophe was random. Unless it's part of the theme, I don't want symbols in my crossword puzzle. If you want to freshen things up, keep cluing FLO as "____ Rida . . .," not as "Mel's Diner employee" or "'Kiss my grits' utterer." One other compliment: I loved the inclusion of MINSK and BEIRUT. Difficult capitals with straight-forward, factual cluing. Perfect challenges for a Thursday. Lastly, I agree with Frannie's accusation of inelegance.

  3. Not the greatest puzzle, but I will still look forward to seeing Mr. Steinberg's byline appear on a future puzzle.

    Agreed about the apostrophe. Gimmicky.