Friday, June 20, 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014, Timothy Polin


I feared that this might happen, that we'd fall behind by a day while we were away, and now it has. And we don't even have a note from the doctor! All we have is a note from the bartender, and that note says, "The beer in Flanders is probably twice as strong as the beer we're used to back home." Delicious, but deleterious.

In the end, though, I guess it couldn't have happened on a better day. The question mark in the black squares of this 15x16 grid fairly called out for a further mystery, didn't it? I mean, TWENTYQUESTIONS (17A: Classic 1940s-'50s quiz show) is ok, but it's kind of a light Thursday theme.

That minor complaint leveled, however, this had some very nice long answers running through it. CONTORTIONIST (4D: Twister) (excellent clue), THINASARAIL (28D: Superskinny), GRANDPARENTS (23D: What were Russell and Anna Huxtable on "The Cosby Show"?), SPITANDPOLISH (10D: Fastidiousness) (hmmm...), ELEPHANTS (3D: What do mahouts ride?), and EROTICART (11D: Kama Sutra illustrations, e.g.) are all excellent. The fifteens running across were also good, as were ENTICINGLY (35A: A la a siren), RESOUNDED (38A: Thundered), KITTIES (57A: Pots), and more. In short, we thought the puzzle was packed with great long fill.

The flip side of great long fill is often some strained small fill, but it wasn't too, too bad today. We didn't know LEONIA (44D: Neighbor of Teaneck, N.J.), or POTSY (39A: What is hopscotch called in New York City?), but the latter was at least interesting to learn. (What, no "What was the name of Richie C. and Ralph Malph's friend?")

Lastly, this was the first puzzle that we have done together in quite a while, and it took both of us to finish it! The top center was the last to go. We both kind of figured HIQ (6D: What is the oldest academic quiz competition in the U.S. (since 1948)?) had to be right, but even doing the puzzle in France couldn't help us to get EAU (7D: Contents of Suisse banks?) (very nice), until Frannie finally put in TIARA (15A: Rock band?).

Very good Thursday.

- Horace


  1. 45:04
    I'd put in pEOrIA at first, having a couple of crosses, but i'd never heard of the "Mepissa" virus and thought that "err" would not be a very good directional suffix. 57A Pots had me thinking of KeTTlES at first before I had trouble with the crosses and it dawned on me that it was akin to an ante; great misdirection. I'd also starred TIARA and EAU and didn't know that four gills make a PINT (now I do, but we'll see if I remember it). Colum must have liked 20A Of a bodily partition (SEPTAL). I would have preferred Horace's suggestion for a clue to POTSY, but I learned the NYC hopscotch trivia today, instead, so it's OK. BTW, the lateness excuse works for me.

  2. DNF. The center north got me as well. Even after figuring out EAU! A lot of great misdirection here, and I too loved the long non-theme answers. I had pEONIA for a long time and thought nothing of it.

  3. 27:27
    I don't know if I should be proud of this, but I started right off with THEOC and EAU. But I did get TWENTYQUESTIONS from just that U, and that's good. We're surprised that Horace was a little lukewarm on this trivia theme: seems right up our collective alley. Sure, some of it was easier, but the percentages didn't seem so bad.

    Anne and I finished the entire west quite deliberately and all of the center, save TIARA (the last thing we filled in). But I guess we were in a DAZE and TOOTIREDTOTHINK after that because the east seemed to take forever. I must be getting old because I don't I know the songs SEXY Eyes, SEXY Girl, SEXY Love, or SEXY Mama.