Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tuesday, May 20, 2014, Peter A. Collins


One of the reasons I liked yesterday's puzzle so much is that it made me think more than a Monday usually does, and I ended up finishing in just over ten minutes - which is kind of long for a Monday puzzle. Well, today I was less than 30 seconds off my fastest time ever for a Tuesday, but I still liked it, so I guess I have to find myself a new criterion.

The HIDDENCOST (59D: Unexpected expense … or a feature of 17-, 23-, 35- and 49-Across?) was well done. The theme answers were all normal things, and the "cost" was split exactly in half between each of the two words. Elegant. Also, it seemed like a lot of theme material (41 squares - is that a lot?), without significant concessions in the fill. Sure, it had the usual smattering of SRA, OTOE, APO, and ORD (and a few others), and LIRE (15A: Cassino cash, once) (that's a city in Italy?) crossing CES (9D: These: Fr.) might have been a little dicey for some. And speaking of French, the cluing for SANS (65A: Avec's opposite) seems to assume a pretty decent knowledge of the language… but even with all that, I thought it was still an enjoyable solve.

I liked seeing DUSTUP (12D: Minor melee), and the clue for TAROT (22D: Medium deck?) was cute. I don't play enough to know that an ACE is "33D: Part of a soft hand in blackjack," but I'm glad to know it now. And, finally, the word SYNOD, as we've said before, reminds us of the wonderful story of the "cadaver synod." If you aren't familiar with it, you're in for a real treat! Ahh… humans. So vengeful.

- Horace


  1. 14:40
    I didn't have much of a problem with either the CES/LIRE cross or SANS, but the latter did take me a little longer than it should have. I was stuck for a time in the SW on tricky clues such as 43D Times up (ATBATS) and 50D Thrown for ___ (ALOSS), where I'd entered ALOop, leading to trouble with both TIES and SANS. Also, for 46A Percent add-on? (ILE), I'd originally entered agE, which was a no-go, especially for 37D.

  2. 5:21. Nicely crafted theme, as you said Horace. It went very quickly for a Tuesday. For a while I thought I'd be under 4 minutes as I zipped through the top half, but things slowed down towards the bottom. I had a very hard time seeing ATBATS, with a great clue. Some great fill as well: DUCKBILL and OXYGEN. How about the hockey in the SE? OTTAWA crossed with AMANDOWN, and HAB lurking nearby.