Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014, David J. Kahn


See what I mean? They'll commemorate anything, anytime. Not that the MERCURY SEVEN (71A: & 1D: first American astronauts) don't deserve fĂȘting, they do, it's just that, well, what about Earth Day!?

All that aside, however, this was a decent puzzle. Working in all seven names, as well as the MERCURY, SEVEN, ROCKET (9D: NASA vehicle), and SPACERACE (12D: Old U.S./Soviet rivalry), and even what I'm calling bonus theme commentary, ATROPHIED (21D: Weakened due to inactivity) (like America's manned space program) - that's a lot of fill!

You end up with a little bit of KAON (38D: Unstable subatomic particle) (unstable fill?), OTOE, and Crossword's favorite family, ALOU (35D: Baseball family name), but there's plenty of good non-theme stuff, too. VAMOOSE (17A: Blow the joint), TORRID (31A: Not just hot), GNASH (8D: Grind), and my favorite clue today 13D: It's a crock (OLLA). Hah!

I liked it.

- Horace


  1. 18:50
    I thought that was the best OLLA clue I'd ever seen. I loved this theme, of course. I never heard of a SUPERC (48A Very high trumpet note), and I was flummoxed by the cross of NOTOK (37A Improper) and KAON (38D Unstable subatomic particle) until I realized that it's "not OK." Sometimes it's tough to separate the words mentally. I also never heard of MYST (14D Best-selling PC game of the 1990s), but that's not surprising. I wonder if ET59 liked seeing OKAPI (39A Animal with stripes) in the grid. For blue material, I guess we could include the answer, but not the clue for 42D Tease.

  2. 11:29. Not just all the theme answers, but the lovely way they're entered symmetrically is well done. ATROPHIED was an outstanding answer, and it fits the theme from a physiologic perspective, given that muscles atrophy in zero-g. Also great to see LOESSER make it in the grid. "Guys And Dolls" is a wonderful musical. Never heard of KAON. I wanted NOTOn for "Improper", and tried neON for the subatomic particle, not recalling how Alan SHEPARD's name was spelled. DOODLER was well-clued also. The only sad thing is I have little WHEREON to hang a reference to Italy! Speaking of which, Phoebe and I managed to get to the Pantheon first thing in the morning, and were the only two visitors for about 5 minutes. That is a gorgeous space architecturally.

  3. Oh, also... do you think ALOU wins over OTT for the most common "baseball name" clue?

  4. I'd definitely go with ALOU.

    And your Pantheon experience sounds great! We loved the space even when we were two in a throng. Being there alone must have been sublime - divine, even.