Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014, David Steinberg


Boy, it took me a while to make sense of the theme today. I'm not sure why, really, because it seems so obvious now. Different flags. Not always physical flags, as in the cases of "Black Flag" (band or insecticide?) and "Red Flag." All the rest are flags I can picture. Not bad at all. All symmetrical, and a nice revealer.

I thought this was a very nice grid, but Frannie comments that there was a lot of straight-up trivia - the kind of thing that you either know or you don't. Like 28A: *Creator of Sheriff Deadeye and Cauliflower McPugg (REDSKELTON), 31A: Sabin's study (POLIO), 48A: First song on "More of the Monkeys" (SHE) (who knows this?), and four stacked on top of each other in the NE - 17A: Alma mater for Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston (HOWARD), 7A: Where Whole Foods is headquartered (AUSTIN), 15A: Fast-food chain founded by Italian immigrants (SBARRO), and 18A: *1971 song with the lyric "Helter skelter in a summer swelter" (AMERICANPIE). Sure, that last one is a gimme for anyone within ten years of my age, and the others are guessable with a cross or two, but it just seems like a lot.

That being true, there was a lot I loved in here. EMETIC (58A: Emergency room agent), AGGRIEVE (18A: Distress), TIRADE (60A: Vehement venting), and IRRITANT (17D: Pebble in one's shoe, e.g.) are all nice words. WHENCE... ASPECT... it's filed with 'em.

My favorite clues were the schoolyard-related pair of 10D: Hide seekers (TRAPPERS) and 2D: Made it? (TAGGED). I just love that last one.

Not much to bark at. I like the crossing of SHE and HER, and many clues were entertaining.
A very nice Thursday.

- Horace


  1. I thought that "hide seekers" refers to someone harvesting (as hunters like to say) animal hides, though at first I read it as a schoolyard thing. Also, even though I wasn't very familiar with the characters mentioned in the Red Skelton clue, as soon as I had the crosses for RED I counted the remaining squares and just entered in SKELTON, so while the trivia was somewhat obscure, I agree with Horace that the crosses made it easily filled in. I didn't know the Monkeys-related clue: did anyone ever buy "More of the Monkeys"? I'm pretty sure no one did. Anyway, I wrote the below at work since you hadn't posted yet.

    AGGRIEVE (16A Distress) is a nice word, and SBARRO (15A Fast-food chain founded by Italian immigrants) was interesting to see in the grid. Originally I’d entered “bug” for 3D Zapper target (VCR), then “fly,” both of which led to a little trouble in that area. I also liked PIRATERADIO (48A *Some illegal transmissions) and PAISAN (55A Buddy), both because it brought to mind Buddy and that it was a nice Godfather-ish nickname. For blue material I have REAR (30A Bench warmer?) and LEER (6D Not just a side glance). Finally, LIBRAS (42D Some September babies) was fine, as it makes one think of Sue, but the clue could have had “October” instead, just to make it a bit better. Oh, I forgot to mention the pairing of ASHCAN and UBOAT, which was good, and 40D Word often redundantly preceded by “from” (WHENCE): I thought that ET59 would like the latter. [Once again, the preceding was written at work, and H&F hadn’t posted a review as of then (1:20 PM).]

  2. Yes, "hide seekers" here does refer to a trapper, but it still evokes the schoolyard game, which is why I grouped it with "TAGGED."

    Geez, I'd better get to work on the Friday review, since the timing of our posts is being called out!

    1. Yes. I'd finished the Friday puzzle by around 11:00 AM, but every time I checked this blog up until Sue and I needed to leave for dinner at 3:15 or so, there was no post from H&F! Now, there's no Saturday post (though I admit, I haven't started work on it yet!).