Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013, Jeffrey Wechsler


Whew! That middle took us quite a while, but it was finally the combination of [SUN]YATSEN (36D: Revered Chinese figure) (Thank goodness Frannie has been reading Pearl S. Buck!) and [THU]CYDIDES (37D: Athenian general who wrote "History of the Peloponnesian War") (Thank goodness we're both such nerds!) that finally did it for us. We thought of the latter first, but when we had everything but the first letter for the first one, and it just had to be "Sun," well, then the rest of the puzzle flew by like a short work-week. The last, REMAIN[SAT] (15D: Doesn't leave) is, by far, the weakest of the bunch, but the rest are so far above it that no sour taste is left.

The rest of the fill is mostly solid, with some very good and some less-than-good. Loved 31D: Some keep waiting for them (TIPS), and 40D: Nonspeaking role on "CSI" (DEADBODY) was very nice. I yelled out "They got me AGAIN!" after putting in TAU (27D: Leader of ancient Troy?). When, oh when, will I be prepared for those?!

Frannie took issue with VARIATION (25A: Basic process of genetics), calling it a "result" and not a "process," but I think that it could be seen the other way, too. I mean, the imperfections inherent in the DNA system lead to variation, and it is through variation and adaption that gene mutations are carried on. Still, the wording is not perfect. Neither is it perfect, I don't think, in the ARE[WED]ONE (26D: "Anything else that you require?") clue. It seems that the tone of the two statements is too disparate. The clue seems polite, reverential even, and the answer is crude and rude.

Still, overall, it was a good Thursday challenge.

- Horace


  1. Wow. Just barely got this one. I printed it out last night and spent a lot of time over 4-5 sessions on the darned thing. The theme eluded me right up until I finally saw it while watching Elementary with Cindi and working on the puzzle during commercials. "All the time?: Abbr." was opaque to me even long after I filled in DESKTOPCALENDAR and APPOINTMENTBOOK. Here's why the days of the week across the middle were so elusive, I think: "remains" works just fine without the at, and that's the one I had filled in first--the only one for most of my solving time; I didn't know the Hayek movie and it seemed as though it could easily be "Ida" or "Ada;" "All done" seemed quite possible for the lame "Anything else that you require;" and neither the Coward play nor the revered Chinaman are in the forefront of my knowledge, even though after the fact both do kind of ring a bell somewhere up there. Yes, I should have known something was up with ---DIDES, but, hell, there are a lot of Greeks out there. I honestly can't even quite remember what led to the breakthrough. I guess it started when I finally wrote in VARIATION--even though I had --RIATION for a while, I couldn't quite commit to the first two letters. Maybe I was thinking kind of like Frances, maybe it was because EASYV--- seemd so improbable. Anyway, nearing desperation mode, I penned in the V, then maybe the recollection of the play's title coincided with a revelation about calendars and appointment books. And the thing was done. I too loved TIPS. That stumped me forever, as well. I had DEADBODY starred on my copy. Great clue and answer. SALIVATE was pretty good, I thought. A few clunkers-- the AREWEDONE that you mention and WINEY stand out to me-- and maybe an ample helping of overused short answers-- OSO, LEA, ENC, ERE, ELO, SRA, etc.--but really no complaints from this quarter. Very, very tough Thursday for me, but I am happy and proud to slay it.

  2. Seems like our experiences were quite similar. We had "Remains" and "All set" at first, too. And Frances disliked WINEY as well.

  3. DNF (1:19:46)
    I ended up just writing a bunch of letters in. 5D and 14A I had ALUR and ELSYO respectively. 4A I put PAEAN, which led to 6D ESSEVIER and 7D AYT, so I think that’s all junk. Also, I had 15A Copy, briefly as REPRI and 12D “The New Yorker” cartoonist Ed as KIREN, which are probably both wrong. I think that I had the rest correct…oh, no: 36A can’t be LERTERS and 36D is probably not LYATSEN, nor did I know the rapper at 41A, so this was a mess in a few places. I did star 31A Some keep waiting for them (TIPS) thinking of ET59. (Note: I wrote this earlier prior to reading about the theme, above.)