Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday, February 18, 2014, David Steinberg


Well, this was a tough one. Usually one of us or the other will do the Tuesday alone, but today I needed Frannie to help with the SE. I could not think of NANA (62D: "Peter Pan" dog) for the life of me, but as soon as I said to Frannie that all I could think of was "mAid," the right answer came to me. Then Frannie suggested that maybe we should look at the theme, because we didn't know 60A: *2002 Denzel Washington drama (JOHNQ). We quickly figured out the very elegant alphabetic progression, and then the answer could really only be one thing, even though neither of us remembered the movie at all.

I didn't really love the puzzle as I was solving it, but the theme is really quite beautiful, so I have to reconsider my frustration with the obscure proper names (IVOR?, SHOLOM?), the '80s feel of HAKEEM (28A: Former Rocket Olajuwon) and ORK (56A: 1970s-'80s TV planet), and the "no-E" FONDU (36A: *Dish served with long-handled forks), ENORM (12D: Huge, in poetry), XDIN (32D: Marked, as a box), MTGE (35D: Loan insured by the F. H. A.: Abbr.), and other garbage. And what the hell is SLUE (43D: Pivot on an axis)?

It's cool that the progression was done in order with only Across clues. The fill wasn't perfect, and the solve wasn't especially pleasant, but I've got to applaud the effort, and it was an unexpected challenge for a Tuesday.

- Horace


  1. 8:37. When I figured out the theme, I realized just why so much of the fill was subpar. FONDU is acceptable, I'm sure, but not standard. Should there have been a var. attached? XDIN, ENORM, BBOY, ONERS, DCON, MTGE. Oof. I knew IVOR and SHOLOM, although I put SHOLeM in first for some reason. But I guess these are what you pay for such a great idea. It would have worked more smoothly in a Sunday puzzle, I'm sure.

  2. 28:23
    I found this difficult for a Tuesday, also, but the theme helped ENORM. 17A "Gotcha, dude!" (IDIG) was tricky, as were a couple of others. I couldn't remember JOHNQ or NANA, either. Anyway, short comments since we are leaving for SD shortly. I've printed the Wednesday puzzle for the plane.