Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014, Daniel Landman


Funny that Sid Caesar died yesterday, and now today's puzzle is a tribute (sort of) to ITSA[MAD][MAD][MAD][MAD]WORLD (15D: 1963 movie with the tagline "Everybody who's ever been funny is in it!"). I was already pretty certain of the rebus after 25A: Sportscaster who lent his name to a popular video game series ([MAD]EN), but that movie clue sealed the deal.

We got a good start when AKIMBO (1A: One way to stand) went right in (Frannie says that word a lot, for some reason), and, as stated, the rebus came early, so it didn't really feel that tough, even though we finished in a pretty normal time for a Thursday. (Our Thursday average is actually much higher than this, but I feel it is skewed by a couple of very long puzzles. I also think we've been getting faster after a year of doing the daily NYT puzzle.)

There were a few unfamiliar names, like EDONEILL (53A: "Modern Family" actor) and TINA (51D: "Glee" girl), CLAUDIA (11D: Italian actress Cardinale), and ROCA (42A: Almond ____ (candy brand), but they were all crossed fairly. Also, I tend to think more often of Shakespearean sonnets, which end in a couplet, rather than the Italian model that ends in a SESTET. Luckily, Frannie dropped that right in.

Overall, I have a good feeling about this constructor. The simple, but elegant 43D: Balance (SCALES), for example, is a high-quality clue. I like the tone of LAME (26A: Unconvincing), and UNTURNED (57A: In situ, as stones) is a questionable word redeemed by its clue. Further, I like the erudite nature of ACADIA (7D: "Evangeline" locale), and ARIADNE (35D: Titian subject with Bacchus). Plus, he uses the proper ICEDTEA (39D: Summer drink) instead of the bastardized "ice tea."

Sure, he also uses SERE and ODER, and are MIATAS even made anymore?... but overall I think this was a quality Thursday. Now, On to the Weekend!

- Horace

1 comment:

  1. 62 mins.
    I didn't figure out the rebus until a bit later. Oddly, I got it with the movie, and after that I was able to fill this puzzle right in. I thought that 17A Meter reading (TAXIFARE) was nice (in addition to the Horace mentions), and am looking forward to enjoying some SA[MAD]AMS Summer from the Keggermeister shortly, so it was nice to see that. I'm not sure that 49A Ogle (STAREAT) is exactly right, and 43A Big hit (SWAT) doesn't quite do it for me. I think of swatting a fly, not a big hit, necessarily. Finally, I'm glad to keep seeing Beatles references (LADY[MAD]ONNA).