Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014, Sam Ezersky and Victor Fleming


A puzzle for the kids today, featuring a cable TV star, "Spongebob Squarepants." Is that just two words? I have no idea.

Not my favorite puzzle. The theme seems kind of commercial, as does BOSSYPANTS (59A: 2011 Tina Fey autobiography), but that's probably just me being a crankypants. I suppose you really couldn't get any more commercial than TIMESSQUARE (52A: New Year's Eve hot spot), but I kind of like that one. I like THINGAMABOB (24A: Doohickey) too. But not so much BATHSPONGE (18A: Tub accessory).

PARSE (9A: Analyze, as a sentence) is a lovely word. And don't you think TORII (20A: Outfielder Hunter with nine Gold Gloves) made a lot of crossword constructors happy when he became famous? Not as happy as the Alou brothers made them, or Enya, or H.G. Wells when he created the Eloi… or the Gauls when they changed Latin into French… come to think of it, I don't remember seeing Torii Hunter in a puzzle before, but I can't believe this is his first appearance.

Favorite clue: 35A: Washing up spot? (SHORE). Frannie had "beach" in there for a short time. She knew right where they were going.

Least favorite: 69A: All of these may be off (BETS). It wanted to be good, but it wasn't.

Lastly, in the games of tag that I participated in when I was little, there were no bases. It was just kids running around all over the place. Pickle, that had bases. There might have been a "home" or something in Freeze Tag… oh, maybe I'm just being BRATTY (1D: Like a spoiled kid) today. I'd better STOP (19D: Knock off) now, before it gets out of hand.

Just one more thing - ILO? ELENORE? (#1 in New Zealand!)… IRKSOME (41D: Annoying). I did, however, like how NEWISSUE (36D: Initial public offering) put IPO into the clues instead of in the grid. A little switcheroo! Let's end there. On a high(ish) note.

- Horace


  1. Tag doesn't have baseS, but it can have a home base, a safety place, a place where you run to and touch in order to be safe from being tagged out, kind of a time out place. It's particularly used in Hide & Seek Tag, although ordinary tag can have a home base. I'm not saying I liked tag that way, just that it was a common feature of tag.

    You're right about Torii Hunter. I don't recall seeing him in a puzzle before either and can only conjecture that puzzle makers are, stereotypically, less sport-aware (at least modern sports) than the average person in our circle.

    And are you saying you don't like The Turtles Elenore or that you don't know it??

  2. 10:18. This was definitely an iffy puzzle. I had a good deal of difficulty in the NE. ETAIL is common enough usage nowadays in puzzleland, but I dislike it. ATOB took a lot of looking at to see how it works, and I still don't like it. TORII and ORWELL were nice to see. When I hit submit, I got the annoying message: turns out I'd typed NUTJuB. Ah well.

  3. 14 mins.
    I liked this puzzle all right. I'd never heard of TORII, of course, and thought that it must be wrong. At first I had THINGAMAjig instead of THINGAMABOB, but not for long. BATHSPONGE might be my least favorite. I enjoyed BYOB (1A Message indicating "adult beverages not supplied") and NEWISSUE since it has "SUE" in it and 62D Drag to court (SUE) for the same reason.