Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013, Brendan Emmett Quigley



This took us forever, and was technically a DNF, because the last half hour was spent looking for an error, and I finally ended up running the alphabet to get the first letter of TNT (71A: Great leveler). It's a very nice clue, now that I understand it, but it just wouldn't click today, and I had no idea what 62D: SAG's partner (AFTRA) was. Oh well, that's how it goes sometimes.

I'm a fan of Mr. Quigley's puzzles, and I enjoy seeing his more "unedited" works in The Weekly Dig (or maybe it's just The Dig now - it had the "Weekly," then it didn't, then it did, and then I lost track), a free paper found in boxes around Boston. I've heard he lives in Cambridge, and I keep thinking I'll see him while I'm sitting outside of Crema solving one of his puzzles, but I'm not really sure I'd recognize him, so he'd have to initiate the contact, and, well, that just seems very unlikely... Anyway, in general, I'm a fan, but this one just didn't do it for me. The backward circled name theme just seems odd, and some of the fill is pretty sketchy. I mean, you've almost always got a little, but right off the bat, you've got PCBOARD (1A: Etched computer component). What is that? It's not the mother board, is it? Is it a card? I've helped to build a computer from scratch, and I don't remember any talk of a "PC Board."

And Frannie complained a bit about the word "sacred" in the clue 37A: Attack on sacred custom (LESEMAJESTE). It's more an attack on the monarchy or the state, and sure, the word "sacred" can be used loosely, blah, blah, blah... I guess I'm just in a bad mood after the DNF.

But maybe I'm grousing too much. There was, of course, some very nice fill, too. I liked IMMORTAL  (31D: Any Mount Olympus dweller), and it's lucky it was knowable, because I've never heard of MCA (44A: ____ Nashville Records). And speaking of that one, I think the "C" was the last thing put in (aside from the aformentioned "T"), and MACED (32D: Like some rioters) was pretty funny. Not for the rioters, of course, but for us solvers, whoooeeee, it's funny.

Look, I'll level with you, I've got a cold. I hate being sick. I didn't love the puzzle. I hope you did.

- Horace


  1. I didn't love this one either, and I don't have a cold (although I'm not working on much sleep after that awful ending to the Sox game). I kept on thinking there would be more to the theme than just having names backwards in the long clues. And the cluing for HARASSMENT is poor ("Badgering" should lead to a gerund, it seems to me). On the other hand, SWARD is an awesome word. I liked the two "Bar food?" clues.

  2. This was indeed a bear. When I look it over, it doesn't seem that bad, but I took a long time on a lot of answers I should have known more quickly. "Jordan feature" stumped me forever. I couldn't get off the river Jordan. I was thinking about dams and bluffs and water flow. Oh course, I know next to nothing about that body of water, except what's in the song. I have no complaints, however. I love a Sunday that isn't the usual walk-through. I'll even accept the lame-ass (as Ho and Colum point out) theme. SWARD is a winner, Colum. I'll have to try to remember that one.

  3. There were two more things I wanted to comment on in this puzzle. First, how great and how freaky (not to mention hard!) is the answer to 13-Down, "Like the time of Franz Ferdinand's reign"?? Second, I know the guy's prime was mostly over in Asia, but I followed golf all through the 80s, and I never heard Isao Aoki referred to as "Tower." I like the bit of trivia if it's true. But I'm skeptical.

  4. 1:56:16
    I was hoping that 37A's name (backwards, of course) was Jor-El, since I had JAW and OLEOLE filled in, but alas, it was JAMES. I thought this was odd, too. And Horace, TNT was one of the last things that I filled in, too. SWARD is good. I originally filled in GREEKGOD for 31D instead of IMMORTAL, but that didn't hold for long. The rest didn't seem too difficult.