Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013, Dan Schoenholz


Most people, when solving a crossword alone (myself included), will start at 1A and slowly work their way through, filling in as densely as possible as they go. When solving with Frannie, however, if I start the puzzle, I have taken to going straight through the Acrosses in order, and then the Downs in order, not allowing myself to cross-reference at all. After this, I hand the puzzle over. Today, however, I broke that rule to take one last look at the revealer clue 34A: Puzzlement … or a hint to getting the 10 words on the perimeter of this puzzle (CONFUSION), because I had put several letters through it on the downs, and, well, because it was the revealer. I was able to fill it in at that point, so I looked again at 1A, which stood as "_AV_," and the theme was understood. All this is just a long way of saying that I felt it played a little on the easy side.

That's not to say, however, that we didn't like it. We did. And even with the trick revealed, we still did double-takes on some of them, like 44D: Be patronizing ([CON]DESCEND), and 62A: Pageant, e.g. ([CON]TEST). I mean, they could almost work without the "Con"s. 5A: Court disaster? ([CON]TEMPT) was kind of funny, although I think "disaster" might be a bit strong. If he's using "court" as a verb, then it's a strange, dual, meta clue that I only barely understand. Any thoughts?

I loved the non-theme long answers BATTENDOWN (18A: Secure, in a way) and INLALALAND (56A: Out to lunch). Very nice. 22A: In stitches (SEAMED) was nice and tricky. As were 45A: Coke source (SODACAN) and 47D: Lightheaded one? (CANDLE). Thankfully, the crosses on ELEAZAR (43D: Nephew of Moses) were all gettable (luckily, I know a little Latin!). And while we're right there, I loved the symmetry of the two "unwind" clues 17A: (REST) & 58A: (LAZE).

A decent Thursday.

- Horace


  1. 22:07. I very much enjoyed this one! Clever theme, and it's cool when the it's all on the outside of the puzzle. What's with the TIBIAS recently? And King of pop was a nice reminder of CAROLE, who really is royalty. A few too many three-letter answers, perhaps, but I like the multiple 7-letter answers in the corners.

  2. I too enjoyed seeing CAROLE King and the fresh twist on a "King of pop" clue. TEMPT doesn't quite work on its own, but there is definitely a resonance of "TEMPT fate" being an answer to "Court disaster?" I liked this one OK, but as Simon Cowell used to say on Idol, I'm not jumping up out of my chair over it. I must admit, it bothered me some that the corner words mostly had CON in different places. Like Horace, I did like the longer answers, though, especially CANDLE. Horace, 7-Down took you back, didn't it? To all of those rallies a couple of years ago? You know, the ones where you were chanting "MITT, MITT, MITT . . . " at the top of your lungs. It occurs to me now, "puzzlement" is a great word, isn't it?

  3. 36:49
    I was able to fill in many of the themed answers prior to getting the revealer, but the NE had me in puzzlement since I had all but the "T" in the corner and couldn't, for the life of me, figure out what should go there that would make any sense. INLALALAND was great. In fact I starred it, not only for the fantastic answer, but for the odd-looking three LAs in a row. I usually enjoy Thursdays, and this was no exception.