Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday, January 26, 2014, Daniel A. Finan



Sometimes I can't decide whether I like Sundays or Mondays less. Or maybe it's Tuesdays, since on Mondays I can try to break the 4-minute barrier, but on Tuesdays that's rarely in play. And I guess on Sundays you've usually got a more interesting theme than in the early-week puzzles… Oh, when did I become so jaded?

Today did have an interesting theme, but it was initially irritating, because I generally am not a fan of references from one clue to another. When I see "6D: 73-Down, relatively" (NOWAYJOSE), and then look to find that 73-Down says "See 6-Down," (MYDEADBODY), well, it's just not that fun. It's kind of cool once everything is filled in, I'll grant you, to finally understand that "No way, José," being positioned directly over "my dead body," makes the two phrases equivalent. Sometimes it's "over," sometimes it's "under." OK. Clever. Is it worth it? Maybe. Frannie says it adds variety, and asks, "What, do you want every day to be a Saturday?"

Theme aside, the fill did have a few highlights. 21A: Summit planner (SHERPA) was lovely. I enjoyed the imagery in SCATTER (25A: What players do at the start of a game of tag), and we learn more and more about MRED (50D: He "will never speak unless he has something to say," in a song) every week, it seems! And speaking of learning, I don't think I ever heard before that YOKUM was 34A: Li'l Abner's surname.

Very tricky clue for ELLE (38A: Notre dame, e.g.) today! It's kind of a hidden non-capital. Hah! And a nice shout-out to BATES (74A: Maine college) (a brother went there), but I wonder how long it is until we see that clued with some kind of Downton Abbey reference? 83A: Tops off (BEHEADS) is nice, if a bit gruesome, 107A: A line in an A-line? (HEM) is cute, and 119A: Love to hate? (ANTONYM) is quite nice. Lots of hammock clues, a few clunker answers (IRED, KAS, DPS, ENA, ELOGE), but overall, ok, it was fun enough.

Favorite clue: 49A: He's 2, for one (ATNO) (Helium…). Very fine clue for a standard bit of crosswordese.

- Horace


  1. Untimed. I didn't figure out the theme until I had about 10 squares left unfilled. I'd already entered most of the theme answers and couldn't see a connection. I think I was put off by wanting TALKTOYOULATER to start out TALKTOYOUr... and then I expected a family member, thus relative. Couldn't make that work of course. So on the whole, I was annoyed by filling in the grid; when it all became clear finally I liked the concept, but the feeling of being TEED off, or IRED, remained. I really liked the cluing for ATNO as well. That was clever. I wanted something more risque for Tops off? And BRA is becoming so commonplace now in the NYT puzzle.

  2. Not a fan of this one. I agree with you Horace about the references from one clue to another. More than that, I generally hate a theme that has absolutely no bearing on the solving. I had to put everything together after the fact. What fun is that? I am not quite with you guys on ATNO. Something about that doesn't strike me as just right. Shouldn't it be "He's is 2, for one"? Of course, then it wouldn't be nearly as cute. I was very surprised to see BATES in the grid. Thought the only allowable Maine college-related answer was "Orono." I too loved the cluing for ELLE. Daniel Finan is probably not a baseball fan. Otherwise he'd know that probably no BASECOACH in the last 50 years has ever yelled "Go home!" to a runner. That is just so hokey. Go home! Seriously. Loved the cluing for LIBYANS. Overall, a fairly non-fun Sunday.

  3. 70:26
    Well, once again, I enjoyed this one. I thought the theme was clever. I don't mind clues that refer to each other without actually being clues, and the over/under was great. ATNO and ELLE were both starred. BEHEAD and SHERPA were two others that I starred, as well as ANTONYM. Mostly this went pretty fast for me (even though I seem to take longer than any of you). I can't say that I enjoy the word TREELET (55A Sapling) too much, but other than that the puzzle was a nice one.