Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014, Michael Black


Two tough areas today! The first was the SW, where, if we hadn't just seen ENA (65D: Bambi's aunt) on Sunday, we might have been in some real trouble. Never heard of DEBI 64A: Mazar of "Entourage," nor ENOL "68A: ____ ether", either. What a mess! The other area was the center, where 29D: Joy Adamson's big cat (ELSA) was an unknown, but SINAI (42A: Battle zone of 1956 and 1967) was inferrable, so that wasn't as bad, but still, this is Wednesday!

The theme was odd. Frannie's not a fan of circles, and if I were basing my judgement on today's grid alone, I wouldn't be either. I guess it's a little bit neat that initials of things related to the theme answers can be taken out of their names in order, but I wouldn't go any farther than "a little bit neat," I don't think.

Nothing terribly remarkable in the fill. CABO (43A: Baja resort area) should excite at least one of our readers, and EATER (66A: What "-phage" means) would be interesting if I could think of a single word that uses that suffix. ?? Seriously, it's Wednesday, right?


Not my favorite puzzle.

- Horace


  1. 7:22. I agree about the theme. It would have been better had the three initials all been consecutive, as in ELGINBAYLOR and WOODROWWILSON (I particularly liked the second of these). The other two just aren't that interesting. Some nice entries for us science types, including SERUM and EATER (macrophage, autophage, etc.). At the same time, three named animals (ENA, ELSA, NALA) is poor. I liked DELMAR being in the grid, but clearly the author didn't use the correct clue: Where Colum and Hope live. What's up with that?

  2. 11:04. I guess I liked this one a little better than you. I agree it would have been much better if all the themers had been like WWI and NBA. I can't group ENA with NALA and ELSA. The latter two are fine--aren't The Lion King and Born Free big enough cultural markers? Nala is the second lead in "King," and Elsa is the main character in "Born Free." And, yes, Bambi is bigger than either of those other two, but ENA is a very minor character in the story. Got a kick out of the clue for DOTS (which I love). "Fruity" candy? Seriously? When I think of Dots, fruit is about the last thing I think of. How about "Sticking to your teeth since 1945"? Actually, I love the trivia of when they started. Always enjoy a shout-out to Whac-AMOLE. Funny we get SIDEA today and SIDEB on Thursday (23:11, not a great Thursday; correct guess at intersection of 52-Across and 44-Down kept me from the dreaded Thursday DNF)). J to tha L-O and out!

  3. 20:16
    I starred 23A Loaded with substance (MEATY) for a reason that I can't remember. Also, 34A Trigram on rotary phones (PRS) because I'd never heard that term. I loved the WWI entry (like Colum), but probably wouldn't have gotten DELMAR with his cluing. I didn't know in which movie ELSA appeared before ET59's mention. AGIN (30D Opposed to, in dialect) was funny. I'd never heard of ELGINBAYLOR, but luckily it was gettable with crosses.