Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014, Zhouqin Burnikel


Well, I'm a Mac, as the old ad campaign used to say, and I enjoyed this unusual theme. The grid is strange, almost as if Mr. Burnikel were trying to make a picture… wait, I think it's an apple with a bite taken out! If you squint just right…

There were a lot of threes, but I didn't hate them. I'm a little tired of NIA (38: Peeples of "Fame"), and ACR (20A: Puzzlers' direction: Abbr.) seemed oddly "meta," but what rare you going to do? The longer, theme material was all good. STRIPCLUB (16A: Bada Bing!, on "The Sopranos") (I never watched the show, so that needed a lot of crosses), TRUMPCARD (61A: Winning advantage) (oddly clued), and POPCULTURE (10D: Movies, TV, hit songs, etc.) were all good. SHARPCURVE (28D: Hairpin, e.g.) is fine.

I liked being reminded of NEWHART (22A: Sitcom set at a Vermont Inn), even though it made me feel old. LIPBALM (50A: Stick in a purse, maybe) was nicely clued, as was PARSE (51D: Break down, in a way), and I think they're taunting me now that I said I was slacking off in my Vergil class by including AENEID (48D: Post-Trojan War epic)!

Finally, is it just me, or should SKOSH (12D: Wee bit) never be spelled out? I think of it more as a sound than an actual word. Kind of like "smidgen."

Not a bad Wednesday.

- Horace


  1. Untimed (I forgot to start the timer). A cute theme, pretty well carried out. I had the most difficulty in the middle west, where OSHEA was a guess, I didn't know NIA, and BONE did not seem clear at all. A number of old-timey clues. How many people nowadays know ANOUK Aimee, Sophia LOREN, or even James CAAN? Or even ELVIS?! Not that last one I guess. Overall I didn't love the fill, but the theme was fun enough to make up for it.

  2. 11:09
    C'mon! Doesn't everyone know the great James CAAN, at the very least from The Godfather? The clue made it a gimme. I, too, haven't ever seen The Sopranos, and so needed many crosses for STRIPCLUB. I liked being reminded, in addition to NEWHART, of 29A Like Ogden Nash's verse (DROLL). I've got to agree with SKOSH, but I've squinted very hard and could not make out an apple.