Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013, Bill Thompson


An interesting Tuesday. I was quite surprised to see MODESTMOUSE (45A: Band with the 2007 #1 album "We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank") (I know the band, but not that album - I guess we stopped at "Good News for People Who Love Bad News") turn up, and MISSMISSISSIPPI (36A: Annual Vicksburg pageant) looks great running through the middle. I guess the theme is "M&M," as all long answers are two-words, each starting with M. I kind of like that 55A: Plain or peanut candy (MANDM) is clearly the "revealer," yet makes no mention of the theme. I will complain slightly, though, about MUCKETYMUCK (59A: Pooh-bah). That is a term I never use, but if I were to, I'd probably say "Mucky-muck." Neither appears in my Random House College dictionary, yet I accept various online sources, which give both versions as variants of the Chinook "High muck-a-muck."

I am pretty tired of ELL (16A: Pipe joint with a 90-degree turn) and LASE (29A: Zap with light), but I love the word SERPENTINE (53A: Like Lombard Street in San Francisco), and BLOUSE (12D: Garment traditionally buttoned on the left side) was uncommon and refreshing. Also to the good was the interesting trivia that ORANGE is the "46D: Actual color of an airplane's black box."

I liked the clue for CPA (61D: Balancing expert, in brief?), and UPHERE (48D: Higher calling?) was cute, too. SEATED (49D: Like fortunate subway riders) seems like an arbitrary judgement call. I, for one, often prefer to stand on buses and subways. Especially, here in Boston, in the doorways on the side that don't open, just tucked out of the way, and not crammed next to someone with very little understanding of the term "personal space." But I digress.

Overall, I guess I liked it. It was a little tough, for a Tuesday, and had some interesting entries. Keep 'em comin', Shortzie!

- Horace

p.s. I hadn't realized it before checking out another blog, but this is a double vowel progression. That is, MA-MA, ME-ME, etc. Very nice!


  1. Actually timed this one. 10:11, and it seemed frustrating in parts. I, of course, thought of you Horace when I wrote in MODESTMOUSE. Quality, unusual answer. I liked this one too, and I have no problem with MUCKETYMUCK. The phrase sounds familiar to me. I didn't mark anything on this one, but I did compile two lists of three-letter words. KRAP: CGI, INC, WBA (could switch columns with a better clue), ARG, NOS (with a bullet), ORE, LEA (seriously, "meadow,"? That's the best we can do?), ELL; KWALITY: KYL (got this one immediately because of my study of senators), SEN (only 'cause it goes with KYL), KIR (but not if we keep seeing it), UMP (it's baseball!), SAM (who's going to argue with Sam Cooke?), WOK, AYR, CPA (had it in the other column, but Horace convinced me to flip it). Undecided on BOG, MAS (would always prefer a Duran clue), and CAL. Agree on the good black box trivia.

  2. 10:49
    I never heard of MODESTMOUSE and also had no problem with MUCKETYMUCK. I've heard that term plenty. I thought that the Pooh-related three-fer 15A, 30A and 59A (maybe?) was good. I also knew of former Senator Kyl, ET59. Now that Horace tells me the theme, it's great for a Tuesday. My favorite is probably MISSMISSISSIPPI just because of its odd look. Also, I didn't know the color of a black box prior to this puzzle, and it's always nice to learn something.

  3. I forgot to mention that I thought 43A ____ worms (CANOF) was tricky and that I'd never heard of 10D Peter on a piano (NERO). And what about 41D NSFW material (PORN)? I can't let that one go without a mention.

  4. 6:47. And what about the clue Moo goo gai pan pan? That's fun. I liked most of the six-letter answers, and thus had to put up with a lot of 3-letter answers all over the place. I like that ROO and EEYORE both made it in. I also have no problem with MUCKETYMUCK as a word. At the same time, given the matching letter starts, it seems a bit of a cheat since it's actually a repeat of the entire syllable. Probably would be tough to find another 11 letter answer with MU---MU---. Good for a Tuesday.