Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013, John Farmer


I liked it. We put in the names first, but that didn't seem to work, so then we put in the numbers, and that did work. It is an obvious criticism, I think that the theme squares change with the Across and Down answers, but didn't someone once say that the definition of intelligence is the ability to hold two conflicting ideas in the mind at the same time? Or something like that. Perhaps I'm holding the actual quote and a slightly paraphrased one in my mind together. Does that count? [Before you send hate mail, I looked it up, and F. Scott Fitzerald said something very close to what I wrote. Also, I found another nice quote by a guy named Albert Edward Wiggam (no relation to the Chief, I don't think, who, incidentally, spells it "Wiggum") "Intelligence appears to be the thing that enables a man to get along without education. Education enables a man to get along without the use of his intelligence." Hah!]

Anywho, the puzzle was pretty standard fare for a Sunday, I thought. We finished in the far East, with such answers as HAIRCUT[100] (43D: 1980s British band), MHO (42A: Electrical unit, old-style), and STADIA (56A: Olympic venues). Winners all. And in other areas, is AALARGE (115A: Certain 111-Across specification) redundant? I usually just see "Large."

I was just about to question the answer ROOMER (79A: Letter with a limited amount of space), when I finally parsed the clue correctly and realized that the first word means "renter" not "epistle." One answer that I couldn't figure out, however, was AMESLAN (91D: Acronym for the hearing-impaired).  I've looked it up now, to save you the trouble, and it's short for "American Sign Language." Huh. Well, I've learned. Do I now put that into the "intelligence" or the "education" category? HA!

As I said at the outset, I liked it. It was challenging enough, and there were some pretty witty clues. Plus, there's that nice dollar sign in the middle of the grid. Hurricane symbol on Thursday, and the dollar sign today... fancy!

- Horace


  1. Delayed commentary: I saw the dollar sign first, but for some reason thought I'd be filling in financiers. Weird thought. How many financiers can you think of? In any case, I was trying to figure out the first letter in 17D, having gotten that it would end in CENT. Fortunately, Hope knows The Mary Tyler Moore Show like nobody, so I knew I could get the across. When she said LOU[GRANT], I figured it all out. Fun! Let me say also that I liked the fact that there were 7 themed answers, and two other clues (parallel answers, too) with reference to septets.

  2. This was one of the most difficult Sundays I've solved in a long time. I wasn't sure I'd finish that middle eastern section, but I finally thought of ORATORY for "big deliveries"--great cluing!--and the rest s-l-o-w-l-y came around. One problem was that I never knew or couldn't remember HAIRCUT100. How great a clue is "Story coloring" for MEDIABIAS?? I don't see any problem with the theme squares. It's pretty damned clever, really. Plus, the hint is just for the acrosses, and it warns not to take them at "face value," with value being the key word. Face value of the bills would be the amount, which is what the downs are. The acrosses are just the faces. Also, for eggs, large, extra large, etc., refers to the size. AA refers to the quality. I printed the puzzle and didn't get the dollar sign. Liked HITITFAT.

  3. Oh, wait. I see the dollar sign now. Nevermind.

  4. Yeah, we had never heard of Haircut 100. I said "Winners all" but I meant the opposite. That whole quadrant was empty at the end. Frannie somehow finished it. MEDIABIAS was the best thing over there, that's for sure.

    And Colum, I meant to mention 50 Cent. I kind of thought (erroneously) that it was officially "Fiddy Cent," but no.

  5. 2:14:44 (or so)
    This took a while for me, and I didn't notice the $ until it was mentioned above by Horace. I was most vexed by the W and NW. I never heard of HITITFAT and it took me a long time to come up with MATCHBOX[20]. Of course, you people probably knew BO[JACKSON] right away, unlike me. There was a great deal of extremely clever cluing. Sundays usually take me around 50 minutes or so, but not this time. I'll have to show this one to Sue when she's in a mood for it....