Thursday, June 12, 2014

Thursday, June 12, 2014, Mark Feldman


Now onto Thursday! I almost wish this had been unthemed. It felt like an unthemed with one 13-letter answer across the middle, and the other theme answers each modest 8 or 9-letter entries. And while each entry makes sense with THEWHOLE (54A) preceding it, 18A: Business, informally (BALLOFWAX) is not a phrase I ever hear on its own. Turns out MEGILLAH (17A: Long, involved story, in slang) is a Hebrew word meaning scroll or volume, so each of the other phrases can stand alone. A nitpicky inconsistency, I suppose.

And when we leave the theme aside, it's actually a really nice grid. Only 38 black squares makes for an open feeling, with each corner sporting matching pairs of 8-letter answers. Too many good clues and answers to list them all, but here are some of my favorites, bullet-style.
  • 2D: Relax (UNCLENCH). That's a great word.
  • 12A: Common flavorer in Italian sausage (FENNEL). We discovered how marvelous fennel is in salami while in Italy.
  • 40A: Modern term for "Roman fever" (MALARIA). Speaking of which... but also I like the historical reference.
  • 53D: Not be able to say "say," say (LISP). That's a great looking clue.
  • 57A: Mark Twain's boyhood home (HANNIBAL). A piece of trivia that leapt to my mind while solving, always a nice feeling. Plus Mark Twain's awesome.
  • 49A: One who's been tapped on the shoulder? (SIR). I was worried that I was going to have a square that was guessed, as I didn't know SERACS, but laughed when I figured out that last R.
So overall, I liked the puzzle a good deal.

- Colum


  1. 19:13
    I don't know what SLATE (as with the whole stale of candidates on a ballot) wasn't included amongst the themed entries, nor DEMO. And for heavens sake, what about THEWHOLE DESSERT?! You might need THEWHOLE PILL.

  2. 80:47
    I loved (and it stumped me for quite awhile) 47A In groups (ELITES). Actually, much of the SW tripped me up, including MALARIA and HANNIBAL (I'd originally tried cArlsBAd). I finished most of the puzzle in 18:27. However, I'm glad that I didn't give up. It's always nice to eventually solve, even after staring at the same quadrant for nearly an hour!