Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday, May 25, 2014, Dan Schoenholz



Fun theme: TV shows homonymized and clued for comic effect. Frannie's favorite was AWLINTHEFAMILY (110A: Cobbler's heirloom?), and I think mine was probably THEAWEDCOUPLE (48A: Dumbstruck duo?), but there were a few nice ones. I also like that the theme answers were both horizontal and vertical. That's always a nice touch.

The grid is, as usual, filled with familiar friends such as AERIE, EWOK, ALII, ATM, SRA, and the ever-popular STLO ... and there are a few that push the bounds a bit, like ADDL, ACU, and GELEE (38D: Sylist's goop). Is it really called that? Maybe. I don't get out to the stylist's much. And speaking of things I don't know, is SALIENCE (14D: Highlight) a noun that means, more or less, the salient point? "The salience" of that story was...)? Is that a thing anyone has ever said? I mean, I know it is a word, but it just doesn't seem equivalent to "highlight." Or maybe I'm thinking of "highlight" wrong?

I love the cluing on ENNUI (81D: Taedium vitae). If you're going there, you might as well go all the way. The only better way to clue it, for me, would be to include a Baudelaire reference. AGHAST (98D: Left open-mouthed, say) is a nice word, as is AUSTERE (88D: Spare). But, I don't know, I think I just don't like Sunday puzzles all that much.

- Horace


  1. Untimed. This was an odd puzzle, IMO. Some of the puns were well done, such as TWINPEEKS, SECTSANDTHE CITY, AMERICANIDYLL. I agree that AWLINTHEFAMILY is probably the best clued. But then you have THEEXFILES, BRAKINGBAD. These are just blah. I had the hardest time coming up with 54D: Not straight up (OVERICE), in part because I had nERO instead of VERO Beach. So I kept on looking for something like "on a slant," or something. Hope rescued me, as she often does. I like BARKEEP, SHEKELS, PRALINES (who knew? Did you remember that the policeman who's arresting the chocolate manufacturer in the Crunchy Frog sketch is named Inspector Praline?). Speaking of which, ERICIDLE makes his own appearance in the grid.

    I didn't like SALIENCE at all. I had _A_IENCE and had to force myself to enter the S and L. It didn't help that I had LANE for 16D: Gutter site. I liked that answer better than the pedestrian EAVE. Finally, 102D: Part of an old military alphabet threw me for a loop. Of course I wanted "bravo", which is not old. Turns out it used to be Able Baker Charlie, which was the name of a local bakery until recently.

  2. Sundays need to be entertaining; that's about it, because you never have any question that you will complete them and since they are so large and you generally solve them at your leisure, timing them seems kind of silly. This was only mildly entertaining. My favorite two themers were probably the first two: "Stoner' memoirs" and "Leverage in divorce negotiations." SALIENCE was probably the salience of this puzzle. Crosswords can always use more decent-level vocabulary words. "Highlight" is a perfectly fine and quite clever way to clue that noun. True, the adjective is more common, but isn't that why we do crosswords, to be challenged by wordplay? The one theme answer that seemed off to me was BRAKINGBAD (which I have been watching, and which--while good enough-- is not, in fact, the greatest show in the history of television, and even if it were, how much would that be saying, but I digress . . .). While the show title clearly benefits from a tension between "bad" as a predicate adjective and the same word casually used instead of the conventional adverb "badly," the clue for BRAKINGBAD carries no such ambiguity. Puzzles should have the utmost respect for correct parts of speech (see above). If a constructor is going to play around with conventional usage, he needs to hint at that in the clue. Finally, why is Ms. Dey always "of L.A. Law" and never "of the Partridge Family"?

  3. 66 mins.
    Someone remembers The Partridge Family? Well, I guess it's all been said, except that I disagree with ET59 about the greatness of Breaking Bad, though not about the trouble with BRAKINGBAD. We spoke extensively about the former this past weekend. I guess I'll mention only DENUDES as a nice, blue answer to the not-so-blue 118A Clear-cuts, e.g., and that it was nice to see AWAYWEGO, although Jackie Gleason should have part of the clue.