Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014, Ed Sessa


Boy, I loved this puzzle. Thick, interesting corners, and a nicely done progression of "FL" followed by the five vowel sounds in order.

The puzzle started very quickly. I don't think I hit anything that I didn't fill in immediately until I was past TSETSEFLY (39A: Insect that causes sleeping sickness), but I was already loving it. EMBALMS (1D: Mummifies, e.g.), AMBIENT (3D: Surrounding, as sound), THRILLA (11D: ____ in Manilla (Ali/Frazier fight) (excellent), and SPANISHFLEA (25A: Theme music for TV's "The Dating Game") (I didn't know this previously, but it's perfect!) were all great. Also in the "didn't know, but hilarious" category was YUPPIEFLU (66A: Dismissive term for chronic fatigue syndrome).

OK, so it starts with the very crosswordsy ELAL, and there's more where that came from (SSTS, DELE, SOI, DSL, ISP, etc.), but there was plenty to offset it. Even the very odd YEST (18D: Tues. vis-à-vis Wed.) doesn't bother me. It's got a funny-ish clue, and like I said, there's more good than bad.

We've seen Ed Sessa's name a lot, but I never really have a good handle on him. I just searched his name on this blog, and we (and Colum) have reviewed nine of his puzzles, from every day of the week except Sunday, and I see that we've liked far more of them than we've disliked, and many we've liked quite a bit. I'm already looking forward to the next one.

- Horace

p.s. Is it a problem that he clued two words that basically mean the same thing with the same clue?


  1. 8:02 mention of 34D Completely unlike a wet noodle (STIFF)? And based on puzzles in the Webster Times, even cluing two of the same word in the same puzzle with the same clue is acceptable. At least this puzzle was enjoyable, unlike those in the WT (which I no longer waste time on). I'm familiar with the name BOBBYFLAY (17A Celebrity chef and host of the Food Network's "Boy Meets Grill") but not with him or the show. SOSPADS looks odd in the grill (in a good way) and I was previously unaware that a COROLLA is a flower part, so I've learned something today.

  2. 4:28. Yes, this was a fine puzzle, although I had to raise my eye at the cross of ASTA and FARO, two very outdated bits of crosswordese. I agree with Huygens - I didn't know COROLLA, and it took all the crosses to fill it in, which is surprising fare on a Monday, but not in a bad way. THRILLA was unexpected, OBTRUDE unusual, and SERENER unwelcome. Overall, thumbs up.

  3. I too loved this puzzle. Huygens, I did indeed think of you when I filled in STIFF (also LIMP). Grand PRIX is even more Huygens material. Had a little trouble with "Rink surface" and "For what reason," but there was just so much quality fill in here. I don't have a problem with the issue brought up in your postscript.

  4. Nor do I. I only just learned that they were the same, and I just found it interesting, that's all. As for the same word being clued with the same clue, twice, in the same puzzle, well, Huygens, all I can say is that I'm glad you're no longer wasting your valuable time with that WT garbage.

  5. 40:14
    Yes,nice puzzle, but not for Jeremy. I'd like to imagine that somehow he'd have known about the THRILLA in Manilla, but that's just not in his wheelhouse for a number of reasons. Nor is the SPANISHFLEA, at least by name (Indeed, I had to explain the The Dating Game, and really the 1970s). However, both he and Harry said they'd heard it before when I found it on Jeremy did know TSETSEFLY and with few crosses. YUPPIEFLU? No. But Bats in the BELFRY, yes!

    But for me, both sides of this puzzle were great, particularly for a Monday.