Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014, Jeff Stillman


OK, so I admit it. I enjoy ridiculous wordplay themes. STRUCKDUMBO (57A: Punched out a Disney elephant?) is hilarious, in a "not actually funny" way. PHONEBILBO (29D: Give a hobbit a ring?) is somewhat funny (the clue is clever), and the other two, well, they fit the theme just fine.

I did this late at night, half drunk and half asleep, but I seem to remember enjoying it while it happened. Clues like 70A: It's just one thing after another (LIST), 30D: It's about a foot (SHOE), and 41D: One known for talking back? (PARAKEET) (nice fill) offset the very few subpar entries like FORA (18A: Fit ____ king) and URGER (31D: Prompter). But heck, those aren't the worst we've seen. One question, though - Does anyone still remember or think about 68A: Politico Gary (HART)?

DRASTIC (44D: Extreme, as measures), MADCAP (4D: Like the Marx Brothers), COWLS (16A: Monastery wear), and even DROOP (40A: Sag), are interesting words that liven up a grid. I'm not sure how I feel about ALOT (25A: Oodles) and ALLOT (62A: Ration out), being in the same puzzle, but I do like the AVAST (24A: "Stop!")/ALOT line, so… it's all good.

It's a rather nice Tuesday, I think.

- Horace


  1. 9:40. I hate seeing ALOT in a puzzle just because for idiot solvers it probably perpetuates the mistaken belief that it's one word. I too had COWLS marked as a fresh entry. The cluing for PSST made it better than usual, although it occurs to me now that "Babe" as an answer to that same clue would be nice. "Raid targets" is nice in your "hidden capital" kind of way, I think. Nice little Tuesday. STRUCKDUMBO is indeed hilarious. I seem to remember watching that movie with Maggie a couple years back and thinking that it was ridiculous--and I am not at all a Disney hater, as you know. The film does have the tremendous, Oscar-nominated "Baby Mine" going for it, though. AVAST is one of the rare answers that just calls out for a fill-in clue, isn't it?

  2. 15 mins.
    What, ALOT isn't one word? I found this puzzle to be on the enjoyable side, but didn't star anything. I always enjoy seeing the proper AEON (which reminds me, in a good way, of Charlize Theron). Horace, I do remember, but do not ever think about, Gary HART. COWLS was good.

  3. 8:22. Rather a pleasant puzzle. I liked the theme fine, particularly SOCCERMAMBO, which brought to mind interesting visuals. SAPPER, UNEARTH (and it's cohort RUINS), and RIGORS were all nice entries. I didn't like the cluing for OBOE. Why is it a slender reed? Is it the thinness of the instrument? The size of the double reed itself (in which case the clue is not referring to OBOE at all)? Second day in a row with a slightly off music clue.

  4. Englishteacher, you'll be pleased to know that I thought of you instantly with the 4-space oodles clue. Better still, I knew the answer right away, of course, and hesitated putting it in hoping that the crosses would yield something different. It didn't happen. And I similarly mused, while putting in HART, it's been 25 years since he was anyone. I guess we're a demographic.