Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013, Peter A. Collins


I like the visual theme today, and the unusual, unchecked "E" and "F" were a nice touch. It didn't put up much of a fight, but it was not without a few tricky ones, at least for this solver. To wit, the "A" crossing of HABANERA (2D: Cuban dance) and WAC (20A: W.W. II female) was an educated guess. "Women's Army Corps?" OK, perhaps I ought to have been more sure about that.

I do not like seeing SUH (10D: Ndamukong ____, 2010 N.F.L. Defensive Rookie of the Year) in the grid. I thought Will Shortz maintained standards of decency, but apparently he does not watch enough football to realize that Suh is a dirty, overly-aggressive player.

On the other hand, I applaud the inclusion of the genius FEYNMAN (48D: 1965 Physics Nobelist Richard). Always nice to be reminded of him. And perhaps he could have explained to me how OBELI were 17A: Division signs. The obelisk is used in Greek and Latin literature to indicate corrupt or possibly corrupt words or passages. In the books I've lately read, the "dagger" (†) is used, and I thought that was an obelisk, but now I learn that it is the typographic equivalent of what I had previously called the "division sign" (÷). "Obelisk" itself, means "little roasting spit" and symbolized the skewering or cutting out of bad material. (According to Wikipedia.) Huh. Welp, I've learned something else through the puzzle!

The inclusion of two unrelated fifteens in this grid seemed a little odd, especially since they had nothing to do with the theme, but both were decent enough entries - I preferred SLOWONTHEUPTAKE (11D: A bit dense). And the eights (yes, even "Habanera") were all fine. Some short crosswordsy stuff, but nothing too egregious.

- Horace


  1. 25 mins.
    At first I thought it odd that an E and an F would be sitting out there all alone, but once the theme circles are filled in it's obvious. I don't particularly like OBELI, but whatever. I thought that RUNNING ONEMPTY was good, as it was theme-related, and I thought that you, Horace, would be pleased with AEON (72A "____ Flux" (Charlize Theron movie). Sue and I started watching that at one point off of Netflix, but I quickly realized that I should watch it myself (NOT a girl movie).

  2. Haven't seen Aeon Flux, but I suppose it might have at least a couple qualities to recommend it. I don't get the visual at all. Don't look like no gas gauge I've ever seen. Still, I am loath to speak against any puzzle that references one of the great concept albums of the 70s. Horace, did you look up "obelus"? OBELI seems like a perfectly good answer for the given clue. Yes, FEYNMAN is quality fill. Also enjoyed seeing Bel PAESE, for obvious reasons. Not a bad red-headed step-child. Done on can fairly quickly before turning in Tuesday night.

  3. Yes, "Obelus" seems to be correct. I got caught up in its derivation from "obelisk." Still, interesting, no?

    Also, couldn't you do the puzzle sitting in a chair, on the couch, or in bed, like a normal person?

  4. 9:01. AEON flux for the second time in a week! The ARROW was cute. Nice long answers all over the place. I enjoyed this one. CORNSILK, MOONBEAM, LUPINE, FEYNMAN, OLDGLORY, and HABANERA. Very nice.

  5. I just got the unchecked E and F! Very cute.