Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014, Ian Livengood


It's really all about the clues on the weekends, isn't it? I mean, take TINE, for example. An ordinary puzzle could clue that with "prong," or "fork feature, or even "piece of silverware," but "4D: Stick with it" is very tricky! I bet most people read that as "stick with it" instead of "stick with it." And it's a nice old-timey clue for SUE (30A: Petition) today. It makes me think of Gilbert and Sullivan - "Oh, the sighing and the suing..." And 48A: One who's trustworthy?" (HEIR) is fun, even if they do spoil it a little with a question mark. I mean, what's the material difference between "One who's trustworthy" and 49A: Doesn't just grab (AWES)? And 58A: Bank guards? (SANDBAGS) (!) gets one, but 15A: Miss out on a board (WAHINE) (!) doesn't. It almost seems arbitrary. Heck, on Fridays and Saturdays almost anything could have one. Or not.

And what about 48D: Drill bits? (HEPS)? I thought I was so clever, entering "ellS" for that one. I finally caught on! Well, I didn't, of course. And meanwhile CEE (6D: Civic leader?) went in with crosses, I think. Or maybe Frannie put it in, 'cause I sure didn't.

I do have a few complaints, though. And I say "I," because Frannie and I have a difference of opinion on the meaning of ESPOUSED (52A: Public, as views). I hold that to espouse a view means to agree with it. Just making your views public is different. Obviously, you believe in them if you're making them public, but you wouldn't need to say that your views are espoused by you. They are your own. It just doesn't seem necessary, or parallel, to say that your views made public are espoused. Someone else's views made public that you agree with are espoused by you, and saying so publicly could be evidence of that fact, but it's not an equivalent word, I don't think. Frannie somehow argues that it can be, but I'll let her speak for herself in the comments if she wishes to.

One thing that we can and do agree on is that AMENAMEN (18A: Emphatic approval) seems odd as an answer. Not terrible, just odd. But if it allows WHATTHE (7D: "Beg pardon?!") (A shout out to Cali on that one! We think of Huygens' niece every time we say that, which is frequently.), and HOMEEC (8D: Shop alternative), then OK, it's fine.

Interesting about LSEVEN (28D: Square, in old slang, as indicated by forming a square with one's hands). I've never heard that before. And there was a lot of nice "doubling up" of clues, like 25D: Humble dwellings (HUTS) and 37D: Humble dwellings (YURTS), 36D: Red states (IRES) (no question mark!) and 45D: Turn red, say (RIPEN), and 49D: Away from port (ASEA) and 53D: Kind of port (USB) (nice).

Overall, a high-quality puzzle. Very nice.

- Horace


  1. 22:20. Wow. I was very impressed with some of the cluing. I love 'Miss out on a board'! There were a lot of statement answers: YESORNO, STOPIT, PLEASEGO, WHATTHE, MISSME. I liked ONEARM (Feature of a certain bandit). It's definitely true that you approach weekend puzzles with a different expectation. Every clue has to be thought of inside out. And I agree that the placement of question marks seems arbitrary at times. Still, why didn't I get CEE immediately? How many times?!

    Nice G&S reference. Love Yeomen. But what is HEPS? Is it like Hep-2-3-4?

  2. I knew I missed other statement answers: WHOSTHAT and HOWAREYA, not to mention the aforementioned AMENAMEN. Three on top of each other!

  3. Yeah, we took HEPS just as you say, "Hep-2-3-4..."

    And yes, the statement answers were nice. There was a lot to like about this puzzle. Too much, really, for a short-ish review!

  4. And my favorite of the statement answers is probably PLEASEGO. I just loved the directness of the clue ("I'd like you to leave").

  5. 37 mins.
    Success! So this was a good Friday. Also, the cluing was fantastic. I starred WHATTHE for the reason that Horace mentioned. I read it to Sue, who liked it (instead of getting angry). I also starred HOMEEC, LSEVEN (never heard that either), 34D Takes some hits (TOKES) and YURTS, because we haven't seen that in a little while and it was nice to have an old friend in the puzzle. And of course one of my favorites was 26A Group that no one on earth has ever joined (MILEHIGHCLUB)! ESPOUSED didn't bother me too much.