Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013, Steve Savoy


I wonder who has the distinction of being quoted most often in themed NYT crossword puzzles? I suppose it's find-out-able (there's a database somewhere) but in the absence of the actual answer, I'm going to guess that Einstein is a possible candidate. His quote today, "If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it," is a bit extreme, I think, but it is, at least, a quote that is difficult to guess if you are not familiar with it, which we weren't.

Of course, with all those quote (and author!) squares, there's bound to be some SUER, RETAG, STER, ITD and HTEN (24D: Coordinate in the game Battleship). So all those coordinates are fair game now? Yikes. Also did not love DOTEDU (5D: End of an academic 28-Across (URL)).

On the plus side, I liked learning that IRENE is 54D: Pax's Greek counterpart. And in a less erudite way, I loved seeing my old favorite arcade game Asteroids mentioned! (ATARI (4D: Asteroids game maker)). Those were the days, dropping tokens into the machines, happily, but often tensely, wasting hours and hours…

It took us forever to see SAFE as the "10D: Opposite of out," and when, o when, will I remember that MUFTI (7D: G. I.'s civvies) is civilian dress for a military person? I always think of the Muslim definition of religious leader, or legal adviser in religious matters. Here's a little tip, though, the "civvies" definition comes about because that legal adviser is a civil official. Maybe now I will remember it.

Frannie was familiar with the phrase in 20A: Did some woolgathering (DREAMT), which made one of us. And we both liked the pair of "Become inedible" clues (1A: GOBAD, and 62D: ROT) nearly bookending the grid.

I don't know… kind of a wash today. A mildly amusing quote, a few good words, and a hearty helping of junk. Maybe slightly less than a wash.

- Horace


  1. 9:14. Likes: BORDELLO, AMSTEL, MARAUD, SLAKE, and of course, CELTIC. Dislikes: what you mentioned above, as well as ATL, ENA. I like answers that end in odd letters, so MUFTI, SGTMAJ, CELTIC/ANTIC are welcome. Don't know why, but I suspected ol' Al as the quotee, but didn't put it in until near the end. I also liked that the quote started out seeming like it would mimic "If at first you don't succeed..."

  2. 20 mins.
    Horace, I wondered the same thing about MUFTI as it eventually became clear: When will I remember that? I starred 26A One on "Judge Judy" (SUER) because I watch her every day during dinner, which I normally take alone since Sue comes home later than I. I thought that 65A "Not ____ know of" (THATI) was one of the more ridiculous fill-in-the-blank/quote clues that I've seen. Like Horace, it took me awhile to get SAFE for 10D, and I loved 11D Pillage (MARAUD) because that's a great word. SGTMAJ was also nice to see in a grid. I agree that there's lots of junk in here (including an unwelcome reminder of YENTL), and nothing "blue" at all, but I do enjoy a puzzle that I can finish, so it get's a thumbs-up from me.