Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013, Jules P. Markey


Excuse me, but did Mr. Markey just make a joke that says OBAMA is a 53D: President whose initials "stink?" Funny (-ish), but so wrong.

You can put me down as a non-fan of puzzles where four clues are given as "[ ]," and while I certainly didn't love this one, I didn't hate it either. There were a couple that I thought were borderline - ARC (4A: Go ballistic?) and NEE (24A: Formerly). I guess when you work with ballistics, you chart trajectories, which are arcs… that's what they're getting at, right? I like cryptics and all, but that seems a little beyond the pale. And "née" does, I guess, indicate a former name, and you wouldn't get any complaints if you said, "Mrs. Darcy, formerly Miss Bennet," but I don't love it. And then there's all that UAR, BAIN, ABA, LOD… 

On the bright side, however, ORANG (10D: Malay for "human") was interesting (I feel I've heard that before, but I never would have remembered it), and giving SIRI's birthday was cute (66A: Her "birthday" is Oct. 4, 2011). The Siri in my iPad has never been activated, so does that mean that when I do (if I do) activate her, that my Siri's birthday will be a date now in the future? No, probably not. I'm not even sure why I thought of that… or why I bothered to type it out.

Many things in this one had me stumped for a while, like COPYEDIT (52A: Ready for publication), and ESP (72A: Head-to-head contact, for short?) (nice!). It's that tricky verb/adjective thing for the first one, and for the second, well, I would have had it sooner if I hadn't errantly entered "Samoa" for 56D: Aegean island" (SAMOS). I know, I know… it's no where near the Agean, but I think I just saw "island" and went for it.

I liked how hard it was (at least for me), but I didn't particularly love much else about it.

- Horace


  1. 1:16:26
    I thought this was kind of tough. I starred a few, including some that Horace mentioned, such as SIRI, ORANG and COPYEDIT. But I also liked 12D Bookends on shelves? (ESSES), which gets me every time and 48D Athletic supporters? (TEES), which was perhaps the most inventive clue for tee or tees that I've ever seen. I thought that Frannie might have needed to help Horace with 23D Harvard University Press's ______ (LOEB). And I got the revealer first (DOWNCOMFORTERS), but still had a bunch of trouble with the four [] answers. I enjoyed the puzzle, though, and the challenge was fun. This was a good Thursday.

  2. Although I didn't time it, I too found this relatively hard. And, yes, Horace, that OBAMA clue should never have made it past Shortz. I don't even think it's funnyish. It's not an outrage or anything, it's just wrong. You hit it on the head. I would feel the same way about a clue about Bush, Reagan, or any other real person that could be taken as disrespectful. The more I think about this puzzle, the less I like it. Obviously, I hate SIRI; NONWAGES is somewhat ridiculous; what the hell is "Obrien's Team COCO"?? I suppose there were a small number of nice clues/answers: CON is nicely clued, IDYLS is a word you don't see in puzzles every day, especially that spelling. But that theme is pretty lame, isn't it? If I am ever in dire straits, I sure hope you guys can come up with better comforting words than NOTTOWORRY, THERETHERE, ITGETSBETTER, and THISWILLPASS.

  3. "Team Coco" is to Conan O'Brien what "Colbert Nation" is to Stephen Colbert.

    And I think I might even have more of the Loeb Library than Frannie does! ("Red for Latin, Green for Greek.") Although it was she who put that one in.

  4. 25:04. I too got DOWNCOMFORTERS first, which did not help nearly as much as I'd hoped. CON was well-clued, especially since I had sOw in there for some time, as well as UAe for 38A, which really messed up the NW corner. I should have gotten TSETSE sooner as well. I like SHAQ as well, if only for the un-u'd q (never typed that before). Still, somehow this one was tougher than it should have been. COCO crossed with LOCO also stands out as not very well done.

  5. BTW, also put in SAMOA at first, and didn't realize it was wrong until the NYT disallowed submission...

  6. Same here. I must have looked at all the clues twice before I looked again at "EaP" and instead of thinking "Well, I don't know that one," thought "That must be wrong."