Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tuesday, January 7, 2014, Mark Bickham


Kind of a gross start with SACS (1A: Anatomical pouches), but it picked right up with 5A: Rocker Hendrix (JIMI) and 9A: Ingredient in a screwdriver (VODKA). Coincidence that FROS (15A: 'Dos you don't want to sit behind at movies) is right below JIMI? I wonder. Of course, it might have been better right above, but one can't have everything.

I'm not sure we've seen a theme just like this before - synonyms of a single word, "good," as given in the revealer. I kind of like it, especially because it asks the question ISTHISGOOD (62A: Question posed while pulling leftovers from the fridge … or a query about the initial words of 18-, 24-, 33-, 43-, or 50-Across?) in earnest, as the synonyms seem at first like antonyms, or at least not true synonyms. I like it. I like it a lot, actually.

All the theme answers are real things (the favorite might be RADICALSIGN (33A: Square root symbol) (Frannie got that one!)), and there's tons of theme material without a catastrophic effect on the remaining fill. KIEL (12D: German city on a canal of the same name), OOOLA (53D: "Alley Oop" woman) (honestly, though, all the Os down there - OHGOD and OOOLA right beside NOOIL and DOI - look kind of awesome), ENTR and ASCAR being possible exceptions. But really, it's mostly fine. Loved seeing SHOGI (1D: Japanese chess) in the grid. I got that game as a child, but it was hard to find opponents.

I thought INCUBATES (32D: Sits on to keep warm, say), VIRTUAL (9D: Almost ??? (again, it was cut off in the iPod app!)), and DRESSSIZE (11D: Number at a bridal boutique) (SSS!) were all good. ENDWISE (44D: How sausage links are connected)? Well, ok, I guess you can have that one, too. We went with "erRIP" first for ITRIP (16A: "Let ____!" ("Full speed ahead!")), and, frankly, we would have preferred that, but ok…

In my opinion, this was an above-average Tuesday. [I see now that I am in the minority among other crossword bloggers.] What did you think?

- Horace


  1. 10 mins.
    Not bad. I'd starred JIMI, VODKA and RADICALSIGN as well (I'm not surprised that Frannie got that one!). I also liked 66A Boxer's bane (FLEAS) and 24A Facilities with padded walls (INSANEASYLUMS) mostly because we don't use that term in polite society any longer. I thought it strange that this was easier than yesterday's puzzle. And I'd originally put in yAHOO for 60A Joyful cry (WAHOO) until I realized that ENDyISE just wouldn't work.

  2. 6:08. A little bit of a struggle for a Tuesday, somehow. I see that ODIN is the god of war, while Thor is the god of thunder, but war is not what I usually associate with Odin. I get that NTEST is a nuclear test, but I don't like it. On the plus side, DRESSSIZE and all the Os do look good in the grid. Weirdly, I thought 30A was "Hitler's stat", which I hesitate to define. An okay Tuesday overall.