Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday, May 11, 2014, Peter A. Collins



The black squares spell out "MOM," and there are six unchecked boxes in the grid that spell it out twice more. Add to that a smattering of "Mother ____" clues, a final wish at 122D, and you've got a nice Mother's Day tribute puzzle.

All that black square manipulation resulted in OVOLO (22A: Quarter-rounded molding) (?), POLEBARN (59A: Simple storage unit on a farm) (huh?), LEUMI (75A: Bank of Israel) (You don't say), ISSY (129A: Paris suburb on the Seine) (We've been to Paris a lot, and we still think this is a stretch!), but still, there's some very nice fill, too. It's a small thing, perhaps, but I like seeing WHET (30D: Hone) in there, and there are a lot of good, long, down answers. AVANTGARDE (60D: Pushing the envelope, say), MATURATION (28D: Coming of age), LAUGHLINES (75D: Most people don't think they're funny) (nice), are all nice.

Interesting clue for SHIHTZU (100A: Literally, "lion dog"), and 118A: What unicorns don't do (EXIST) made me laugh, and they got us AGAIN with 102A: Second of six? (SHORTI)! But how is 59D: See 54-Across (AI) a clue for KOREA?

Lastly, I don't think UDDERS (101D: Milk dispensers) or SEXUP (107D: Make more alluring) should have been included in a puzzle devoted to mothers.

It seemed like I complained a bit about this, but I still think it was a pretty good Sunday.

- Horace


  1. About 25 minutes. A long time waiting for your blog post to come up! Happy Mother's day in memory. You've mixed up your KOREA references: 54A is NORTH, and RODMAN is associated with the two together. AI was 103A. I liked that two of the two-letter answers were EM and OH, fitting in with the unchecked boxes. I wondered if that was on purpose. Others have commented elsewhere that this felt like an oversized themeless, because the "theme" was so light for such a big puzzle, and that played well, in my opinion. I love the long answers: PUTTINGONWEIGHT and DONTSTARTINONME, not to mention LAUGHLINES, OVERTHROWS, MATURATION, and AVANTGARDE. I got held up in the mid-east section, when I was sure that the museum in Pittsburgh would be for Frank Lloyd Wright (I had the W from SOW), and couldn't change my outlook on it. Otherwise it went pretty smoothly. To compound your unease about the SEXUP, it crosses SPLAY. Ew.

  2. 43:02
    I starred 55A Simple storage unit on a farm (POLEBARN) because my hillbilly brother had one of those in the back of one of his shacks down in FL. I also starred SEXUP for obvious reasons, but also because it crosses with the aforementioned excellent EXIST. I thought this puzzle was somewhat easy for a Sunday. I think it took less time for me to finish than the LA Times Sunday puzzle, which appears in the Worcester Telegram, but I don't time that one.

  3. Colum, One of the problems was that there was no 54-Across. NORTH is 55-Across. Another problem is that when 59D (KOREA) is the active clue, 105A (AI) is highlighted in green. When 59A (NORTH) is active, 58D (PCS) and 111A (PALISADES) are highlighted in green. I see, now, what they meant to do, but it did not work properly in the NYT Puzzle iPad app.

  4. Looks like it was really messed up. In the print version, there is a 54A (NORTH), and 55A is POLEBARN.

  5. The prefix "oen" comes from the Greek for "wine" (oinos), and is used in such words as "oenophile." A "vintner" is one who makes wine.