Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013, George "Red" Barany and Michael "Should I Go or Should I" Shteyman


We were a little nervous starting this one on the iPad after the "... there are elements in the print version that cannot be duplicated electronically" warning, but we pressed on! It seemed like a fairly straightforward rebus puzzle, but we didn't know what to make of the circles. I've read elsewhere now that in the print version there is a slightly darker horizontal line between the two parts of each vertical two-part answer. (And by the way, those triple-fifteen edges look great!) So, the circles, instead, indicate the start of the second part. That's all, and frankly, it hardly seems worth it, except that it is a little reminiscent of the bubbles you might see between the oil and water in a salad dressing.

As for the puzzle, the fifteens, although they look fantastic, they were a little less than scintillating. CAPTAINLASTPASS (1D: ____ America/Final maneuver). "Last pass?" What's that? Final edit, maybe. Final 'Hail Mary,' maybe. I liked "wheelie," but the rest of them just seemed kind of blah. Not bad, but, well, I don't know... maybe I was expecting too much.

The rest of the grid, on the other hand, I thought was above average, especially the threes. 11A: A train (BCD) - clever. 14A: Times column: Abbr. (ARR) - tricky clue for a common answer! 39A: Cow, perhaps (AWE) - a nice twist. And everyone loves MEL (6D: Blanc who voiced Bugs Bunny), and YAZ (55D: Longtime Red Sox nickname), right?

The center was the toughest, because it took forever for us to see those last two rebus squares. I had "fRyER" in there for BR[OIL]ER (34A: Chicken for dinner) for a long time, and "Two- or four- seater, maybe" is a damn tough clue for MAITRED ("maitre'd").

Lastly, had tap[WATER] instead of ICE[WATER] (50D: Restaurant freebie) for a while, and learned that ALA is, apparently, the "55D: Yellowhammer State: Abbr." whatever that is. (It's the state bird.)

Fun Thursday.

- Horace


  1. 19:53. I should have figured out the rebuses more quickly, when I had ET___ for 10D (Cry at an unveiling). I think OXO was brilliant (Tic-Tac-Toe loser). T[OIL]ET[WATER] was a nice double rebus as well. The clue for BANANAS was also well done (Fruit or nuts). And the symmetry of ARTICLEI and CLEMENTI was clever (especially since you could have clued the latter with the composer). All that being said, I agree with Rex Parker that the fact that the layer isn't actually the middle 15-letter answer but moves up and down sort of ruins the effect of the oil and water not mixing. In any case, I always like a good rebus, so overall a worthy Thursday.

  2. 39:19
    Yes, not bad. Horace, I am with you that some of the double answers were blah, but the rebus made up for it. I'm with Colum on the nice double rebus of T[OIL]ET[WATER], and I was against, for awhile, the 62A Brine (SEA[WATER]) because I was thinking that maybe the clue should have been Briny (as in "the great briny"), but I guess that "briny" refers to the ocean, since it's made of brine, so it's not only OK by me, I see my error. And I had fRyER in there for BR[OIL]ER for awhile, too. I starred 12D Fourth pope / Snitch because the NYT usually puts the "St." in there as applicable, so until I figured out that 11A A train? was BCD I'd filled an ST in for the first two letters. I thought that 60A Send (ELATE) was good and thought I was really something for immediately filling in YAZ for 56D.