Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thursday, January 23, 2014, Michael Hawkins


This puzzle came with a dire warning, indicating that it contained certain "elements in the print version that cannot be duplicated electronically," but we had no trouble filling it in with simple rebus squares. Perhaps there is something in the print version that looks different, but for our purposes, the iPad seemed to work out just fine. We got the "Well Done!" notice, and everything seemed hunky-dory.

The "before and after" theme, as we're calling it, was fine, but we didn't especially like the way it worked in the NE Down, where an S was added to the rebus to make it act as a third person singular verb. Somehow that seemed worse than the addition of AGE in the SW, but I can't really say why.

There were answers that we liked a lot, and others that we didn't care for. I guess that always happens, but today it just seemed more contrasty than usual. HERALDS (27D: Royal messengers), MRED (11D: Black-and-white horse) (great clue!), DONALD (56A: Daisy's love) (cute clue), ABE (38D: Fin) (tricky!), and the salacious intersection of BRA (23D: It might be under a tank) and BUXOM (33A: Top-heavy) were all on the plus side. On the other side were such answers as ASTHE (7D: ____ crow flies) (really?), ABLER (48D: Less inept), BAA (34D: Barnyard cry), and LUNE for 42A: Crescent. Is that really a good clue for LUNE? And while we're at it, is "8D: Weather warning" a good clue for SLEET?

In the WHA? (32D: "Huh?") category are INO (13A: Sea goddess who rescued Odysseus), IDAS (51D: One of the Argonauts), SHEB (26A: Western actor Wooley), and ELEA (54D: Zeno's home) (??). ELOI (57A: "The Time Machine" people) would be in there too, if it weren't so familiar to us as crosswordese.

I don't know, it had LANDO (47A: Calrissian of "Star Wars" films), ALI (61A: Thrilla in Manila participant), and OVID (5D: Poet who wrote "If you want to be loved, be lovable") ("ut ameris amabilis esto"), and overall there was probably more good than bad, but I still can't fully get behind it. I mean, it was fine... but not great. What did you think?

- Horace


  1. Untimed, because I tried printing out the PDF, which was only more confusing. The clues with the rebuses were supposed to be somehow double-clued, because the numbering was way off. There were extra clues, but it wasn't in any way made clear where those were to start, or that they were even connected at all with the other clues (for example, 15D was "Building unit," and 39D was "Set-off chunks of text). How were you supposed to recognize where they went (even after you noticed there was no 39D)? In fact, there were no special printed out aspects to the PDF. So I went back to across-lite, where it all made much more sense.

    As to the puzzle itself, it's okay. I got messed up when I put in "with" for AVEC, so the north took some time to unravel. I agree there are many unpleasant answers in the grid. LUNE?! That's unpleasant. I did like MRED, and BRA and BUXOM were unexpected. Oh, well, I didn't love it.

  2. There were essentially two puzzles today. You and I did the easier version. Not sure how much easier, but I wish I could've found out because our versions were too easy. I too saw that note, so I opened up the PDF version of the puzzle. I looked at the grid and didn't see anything unusual, so I just printed the regular version from the website like I always do. The PDF, it turns out, had different numbering and it didn't have the slashes in 20-Across, 34-Across, 51-Across, etc. The second parts were separately clued. And while their numbers were in the list of clues, they weren't written on the grid. You had to figure out where those answers started. So, it's very hard to judge this. Loved "Black-and-white horse/" (except for the ?, of course); Loved "Settings for some escape scenes"--wrote in "towers" at first. I'm with you on BRA and BUXOM. High quality Huygens fill! Finally, I liked, since I used pen and paper, being able to draw three cubes in a diagonal line on my grid.

  3. 73 mins.
    I am the lone solver of the .pdf version. It took a little while to figure out the odd clue numbering. For example, Horace, you mentioned 38D Fin, and that was 40D in the .pdf, and 54D Zeno's home (57D in .pdf). But like Colum mentioned, the [BLOCK] blocks were also the unnumbered clue blocks. There was an unnumbered 56D Obstruction ([BLOCK]AGE) paired with 56A "Titanic" or "Avatar" ([BLOCK]BUSTERMOVIE). I, of course, concur with everyone on BRA and BUXOM and enjoyed the singular NEWKIDONTHE[BLOCK]. 1D Buffs (FIENDS) was a great clue and, being in the business, I liked seeing 65A Settings for some escape scenes (SEWERS) in there. Also, 51D The Graces in Raphael's "The Three Graces," e.g. (NUDES) was nice and racy, and who doesn't love seeing LANDO in there? Finally, I starred the MRED clue/answer because that's the best clue for that that I can recall.