Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013, Tom Pepper and Victor Barocas


The theme/trick/gimmick of this puzzle is beautiful, truly beautiful, but was it or was it not the easiest Thursday in recent memory? Frannie and I passed this back and forth leisurely, and we still finished under twenty. If we had pressed it, we could have maybe gotten very near ten. But what is time? Does it matter? Well, on Thursday, I think it should start to. Certainly, as ET59 argues, we should get a decent challenge on Friday and Saturday, but does such a lovely, perfectly symmetrical, all-around theme deserve a little "slack-cutting?" I say it does.

Still, let's consider, for just a moment longer, the gimmies in the first few Downs alone. 2D: "... baked in _____" (APIE) is an immediate fill-in for anyone who can write. 4D: Car that leaves you with a sour taste? (LEMON) is a cute clue, but again, immediate fill. 6D: Some tram loads (ORES) might be tricky to one new to crosswords, but to us seasoned pros (and who reading this blog can claim to be otherwise?) it's easy. 7D: Galifianakis of "The Hangover" (ZACH) - ok, maybe you can't remember if it's a C or a K, but if you're alive today, you know who they're talking about. 11D: Marketing pro (ADMAN) - here again, easy if you do crosswords, maybe tough if you don't. 13D: Acid-burned Bat-villain ({TWO}FACE), and, "Boom", you've figured it out. One more word about the top, though - I liked that you could easily fill in 10A: 50% ({ONE}HALF) without understanding that it was a theme answer.

There is, however, plenty of decent fill in here. HIGHERED (10D: Colleges and universities, informally) was, I thought, very nice, and LEANINGON (3D: Using for support) is one of those "obvious but still solid" phrases that almost always takes a few crosses to figure out. LATENT (25A: Not obvious) (not obvious) is quality fill, and IAMACAMERA (65A: Play that was the basis for "Cabaret") is good "trivia fill."

To recap: Very easy. Almost too easy. There was some junk in here (I'm looking at you MILS, AMAD, ODIC, and others), but I'm giving it all a pass because the theme is so damn nice. But dammit, Will, you'd better have some nice, chewy* puzzles in store for the weekend.

- Horace

p.s. A big shout out for my favorite arcade game Asteroids! (55D: Creator of Asteroids)

* Deb Amlen reference.


  1. 25:07
    Yes, Horace, it was pretty easy for a Thursday. The theme was great! I'd show it to Sue or your father, but they'd both probably get angry about it. I thought the clue for the oft-seen EPEE was nice (14A Modern pentathlon event), though I filled it in right away. and 28A "Slow Churned" brand (EDYS) was a nice way to clue that answer. I'd starred 25A Not obvious, also. Oddly, SEGER took me a while to get, and I enjoyed 58A Darth Vader locale (DEATHSTAR). Originally I'd thought that 21A Neat would have something to do with no ice, but alas, it didn't.

  2. I don't know, Dad might not get angry. Sue would. And speaking of interesting clues for stock answers, I liked "Twistable Treat" for OREO. Hadn't seen that before. And, yeah, I'll have to put "neat" in the memory banks for when I finally construct a puzzle.

  3. (Although SHIPSHAPE is very good fill...)

  4. Your father sometimes clucks and says "Who could think of that?!?" in an exasperated tone, probably not anger. Sue just gets angry. Yes, "Twistable treat" was great. I'd never seen that either.