Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wednesday, April 2, 2014, David Levinson Wilk


Another good one - it's been a good week so far!

Who doesn't like anagrams? Sam Grana, that's who! (Just kidding, Sam, if you exist! (its an anagram)) But seriously, who? We're almost always fans of a goofy theme, and this seems just perfect for a Wednesday. SWORDHILT (17A: Weapon part that's out of this world?) was the least wacky, and because it was the first one I got, it made it difficult to see what was going on. I can no longer remember if I figured it out or if I just kept going and figured it out with the next one, but WETHOODS (17D: Drenched gangsters who are out of the woods?) is so madcap that it had to be figured out. And while we're over there, why is it ECOTONE (10D: Environmental transition area) and not "Eco-zone?" Well… ok… the internets tell me it's from eco + tonos (Greek) meaning "tension." So, it's a place where ecologies are in tension. OK, maybe now I'll remember it.

And one more thing over in that NE quadrant - POTOK (19A: Chaim who created Asher Lev). Never heard of him.

Oh, and speaking of ECOTONEs, I liked seeing JOHNMUIR (5D: Sierra Club founder) in the grid. I didn't particularly like seeing ARMPIT (48A: Lady Schick target) though. And although it didn't bother me,  I was a little surprised to see NSFW (59D: Office-inappropriate, in web shorthand) in there.

So there were some oddities, and some partials, but the theme was good, and there's some very good non-theme fill (ASTHMA (54D: Inhaler user's malady), ORIGAMI (24A: Paper tiger, maybe), and others), so overall, a success!

- Horace


  1. 15:32
    This was a fun one. ORIGAMI was especially good. Did Frannie have the misfortune of seeing ARMPIT? If so, I feel for her. SKEE ball was a great answer and I always, mistakenly, put in yAHOO instead of WAHOO for clues like 71A's "Whoopee!"

  2. I thought this stunk, and not just because of a DNF for yahoo instead of WAHOO (How ridiculous is "wahoo," by the way. I'm fine with anagrams, but it would be nuice if the answer phrases were at all familiar or clever. They are not. WETHOODS, ARMYWASH, IRANHIT, RARECATCH???????? Awful all. Don't even get me started on all of the initial answers, fill in the blank clues, and lame answer phrases --non-"theme" ones, I'm talking about, such as ATWORK, NEWAT, RANOFF, SEEPAST, NIPSAT (this one maybe gets a pass since it qualifies as Huygens material), and SPEAKTO. Very little fun to be had here. "Swell place?" would have been nice if it didn't have the damned question mark. And for some reason I kind of liked IGOTNEXT, but that's about it. One last shot: TAKE should have been "gate."

  3. 6:54. I finally got the theme after I finished the entire puzzle. I looked at SWORDHILT, took out WORLD and was left with SHIT. Oops! Then I got it, and I love it. I agree with et59 that it's unfortunate that the phrases are not familiar, but at the same time, that's really tough to pull off. Essentially we have cryptic crossword clues that are very nicely constructed. At the same time, look at the nice fill like COBAIN, ORIGAMI, crossed with JOHNMUIR. Chaim Potok wrote "The Chosen," which I've never read, and which sounded incredibly boring, but is known as an important piece of American Jewish literature. Anyway, I liked it.

  4. Boy, ET59, your happy-go-lucky vacation mode didn't last long!