Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013, Don Gagliardo and Zhouqin Burnikel


This starts out strong with, EDICT (1A: Decree), a nice ten-cent word (especially for a Tuesday). There's nice 70s TV trivia with DANNO (14A: "Hawaii Five-O" nickname) (popular this week, the 5-0), SPOCK (45A: "Live long and prosper" speaker), and SCOOBYDOO (23D: Shaggy's dog) (or was that the 80s?), and the theme is interesting, if a tad odd.

I've never heard of an ESCALATORCLAUSE (39A: Provision in many a construction contract), but maybe the Times has been hearing from a lot of construction workers who say there's not enough in the puzzles for them, and ECOTONE (37D: Transitional zone between plant communities) is also new to me, (ditto for landscape architects).

I liked BEAUTIFUL (11D: Stunning), and TOOTOO (5D: Pretentious, informally) and ITSAGO (43A: "We're on!") were both nice, current, in-the-language (as some say) phrases. Good clueing all around, especially for CELS (31D: Ones drawn to film?) and WOOD (67A: Covered club, usually).

Somebody ought to do a study on French in American crossword puzzles. It's been a while since it was the foreign language to take in school, right? So why not more Spanish? Today we've got two French and one Italian. Four French if you count OSIER (28A: Willow twig) and ESPRIT (25A: Quick wit), and, what the heck, let's throw in EDICT too. On second thought, maybe that comes straight from Latin, but anyway… all that to just one Spanish, and that's only if you count OAXACA (53A: Modern home of the ancient Zapotec civilization), which I don't, really.

All in all, an enjoyable Tuesday.

- Horace


  1. 18 mins.
    In general, there's too much French, though with the crosses it's usually doable. At first I had TABLOIDnews for 21A What's being discussed in the National Enquirer or Globe, which cost me a minute or two. TABLOIDBUZZ was, of course, a much better answer, and I liked YOYODIETING, too (though not in practice). I starred 48D Seller of cloth scraps (RAGMAN) because it reminded me of Bob Dylan, and isn't DARLA (2D Friend of Porky and Spanky) usually clued as "Spanky's girlfriend," even though that relationship was never established concretely? Was there a Darla associated with Porky Pig? I don't remember a "Porky" in Our Gang. (In answer to my own question, I just looked him up -- died in 2005 at 71). I still don't remember him.

  2. 9:14. I like the cluing for SANE (Fit to be tried), and some nice long answers as you mentioned, Horace. French does seem to be the language of choice, and it can't be because it fits better than Spanish to help with those collections of e's, r's, and t's that always seem to end up cluttering up a grid.