Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014, Dan Schoenholz



This seemed a little tougher than Sundays usually do, and we actually finished with an error - I had entered "assured" instead of ENSURED (42D: Double-checked, e.g.), and not knowing for sure 46A: Purim villain (HAMAN) (Hamas seemed plausible) or 39A: Reactor (PILE), the error went unnoticed until we were forced to hunt for it. But that's not even the area that gave us the most trouble (or, I guess it really was, but I didn't realize it at the time…). It was in the lower-middle left that we ended. I didn't know the quote off the top of my head (60D: "There is no greater evil than ____": "Antigone" (ANARCHY)), and had entered "dinners" where REPASTS (59D: Important parts of Thanksgiving and Easter) belonged, so it was slow going for a long while. Now that it's done, I can say that PANT (71A: Have a series of sudden inspirations) was brilliant. Another funny clue was 21A: It's organized in a family (CRIME). I tried "order" in there first, because, you know, "Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus…" But not today.

And speaking of today, it's almost tax day (ours are done, thank you), and the theme is a re-purposing of familiar phrases for tax-related purposes. They ranged from the humorous - MANYHAPPYRETURNS (38A: What C.P.A.'s wish for their clients?) to the mundane SCHEDULECHANGE (81A: I.R.S. update?), but really, the idea is a clever one, so I give Mr. Schoenholz full credit. Well, except for my least-favorite entry today - ILLY (110D: In a bad way). That's just awful, but it's one of only a few "blah" pieces of fill (ELHI, EBANKS, and CLU I'm looking at you!), so I'll let it slide.

I've never heard of a REDBONE (49D: Breed of hunting dog), but I'm guessing that at least one frequent reader has. And talking about things I didn't know brings me back to HAMAN - I looked him up. He tried to convince King Ahasuerus (probably Xerxes I) to kill all the Jews in Persia, but the Queen, Esther, herself a Jew, foiled the plot. The Jewish holiday Purim celebrates Esther's triumph, and the book of Ether is traditionally read during Purim services, which are held on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar (itself a useful thing for crossword-solvers to know!).

Nice dual Hamlet references today with ARAT (5D: "How now! ____?": Hamlet) (did you ever see that "Hamlet on Facebook" thing? This would directly precede the line "Polonius is no longer online"), and ANNEAL (119A: Strengthen). It's a stretch, I know, but it makes me think of the ghost's line: "… cut off even in the blossoms of my sin, unhouseled, disappointed, unaneled…"

OK, I'm getting a little far afield, perhaps it's a good time to cut this off. I liked it fine for a Sunday.

- Horace

1 comment:

  1. 1:32:08
    I'd never heard of a REDBONE either. I enjoyed 41D Division head? (LATRINE), but put hOWL in instead of YOWL, so that held me up in the SE for awhile. There was but one bluish answer, but it was associated with a non-blue clue: 50D Like some traditions (ORAL). Finally, I'd add ENUF (66A Ample,informally) to your list of so-so answers.