Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014, David Kwong


BWI (47D: Home of the Bahamas, once: Abbr.), TORV (42D: Star of "Fringe," Anna ____), and BEBE (50D: Early film star Daniels) all crossing DEATHWEDOVER (52A: Exchange of vows again for the Grim Reaper?)?!? Too heavy a toll for too little a payoff. I stared at those three crosses for maybe fifteen minutes before Frannie figured out that the original phrase must be "Death warmed over."

I guess I like that AFAREWELLTOARMS (38A: W.W. I novel ... hinted at by 17-, 24-, 52- and 64-Across) spans the middle, and the idea of taking some letters out is fine, but if it's "A Farewell to Arms" shouldn't ARMS be taken out, instead of ARM? (Yes, I get that there are multiple instances of "ARM" being taken out, but still...) And what is meant by "hinted at?" It's really that the incredibly lame theme answers are a result, not a hint. Ugh. I hated this.

- Horace


  1. 24 mins.
    Well, I didn't hate it. I thought it was clever, although I had to think long and hard about BURGLARAL before realizing it was the (obvious) burglar alarm! Clearly that was before I got the revealer (a book which I just read recently, perhaps within the last year or so). I don't usually enjoy a Cher reference (SNAKECHER, i.e. snake chARMer), but this one was fine. It was also nice to see ITALY in the grid, no? But not MRBEAN, of whom I'm no big fan. I'll give this puzzle a "Good job!", or at least a "Not bad."

  2. 9:55. Like you, I stared at this crossword for way too long. Not worth it. Starting out with ALIA and LOEB in the NW, it only gets worse with NORW, TORV (shouldn't I know that one by now?), BWI, RELOS (hate that one) and BEBE. Geez, that's a lot of really subpar fill, and I haven't gotten to the just normally subpar, and all for a theme that's just not that great. And it's a Tuesday. Blech.

  3. !!!!!!!!! Crazy !!!!!!!!! Read the first letters of all the clues in order, starting with the across then the down. Apparently this links to a TED talk the constructor did. Doesn't excuse the horrid fill, but it's pretty cool nonetheless.

  4. Somewhat interesting, I'll grant you, but as you said, it excuses nothing.

  5. OK, I've softened a bit. I read a little more about this, and the acrostic was the "reveal" of his magic trick at TED. Instead of having your card in his breast pocket, he had it in the NY Times. Not bad.

    Deb Amlen over at Wordplay ran a piece about it, and linked to an interview with Will Shortz. And, Huygens, I think she's responding directly to you at the end of her piece. Honestly.

    1. I read the Wednesday Wordplay and didn't understand the reference (hence the deleted comment). I must admit that the clip of Mr. Bean was amusing. Maybe I just haven't seen enough of them.

  6. Oh, I meant to say that the puzzle itself was basically a sacrifice for the sake of the trick. And now that I know the whole story, I can appreciate it for what it was. It's still a terrible puzzle, but it wasn't about the puzzle at all.