Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014, Pawel Fludzinski


Frannie did the bulk of the early work on this one, and she was not happy with the theme. She didn't like that there was no reason for the answer to be INBED (40A: How breakfast may be served … or how the answers to the eight starred clues should be entered?). Is there something we're missing, or is that it? I mean, I guess I find it mildly more interesting than Frannie does, but still, it just seems so arbitrary.

We were also a bit puzzled by some of the other fill, like AHEM (6D: Kiss interrupter, maybe). Whaa?  ALERTER (27A: Tornado siren, e.g.) Okaaaayyyy…. And OATSEED. Isn't that usually just called "oat?"

On the other hand, I loved 52A: Eight bells, maybe (NOON) - any reference to that method of telling time is A-OK with me - and the word 22A: Hillock (RISE) is always welcome as well. There are some nice full names - YOKOONO & EDMEESE, and I also like both 60A: Heretofore, and its answer ERENOW. Sue me. 21D: Group beaten in a battle of the bands? (DRUMSET) was good, too. It reminded me of the Dennis Miller bit on the SNL news when he was supposedly announcing the top ten bands. Number one was "Better than Ezra" and number two was, of course, "Ezra." HA!

AURICLE and AUREOLE were a nice pair, and 48D: One, for one (BILL) was a good clue. But there were a lot of obscure names (LALO, EDEL, RAMONA, and others), and the theme was odd. To be fair, I liked it more the more I reviewed it, but I'm still not 100% sold. Let's call it a mixed bag.

- Horace

p.s. I forgot to mention ROUNDER (29D: Habitual drunkard). I know this only through Doc Watson, and his singing of old bluegrass songs. The epithet is frequently used, and I guess I just thought it meant "scoundrel" or "no good person," but it's helpful to have the term defined a bit more accurately through crosswords. Another check in the "plus" column!


  1. 40:44
    I have to write this again, for some reason, as my comment seems to have disappeared! I, like Horace, didn't really appreciate the full cleverness of the theme. It would have been much better, IMO, had the theme answers been synonyms of the embedded answers, but I realize that is a very tall order. I starred LALO as being a composer with whom I'm unfamiliar (I'm sure there are many), and ALERTER for its horribleness. The only other star was assigned to ROUNDER, a great word that I will have to incorporate into this summer's conversations.

  2. 15:42
    Yes, the theme here seems a little forced, with no answer having anything to do with the clue (other than being "in bed??"), except maybe BALLOTED (58A: Divide up) if you really try. What's more, it's the kind of theme that, once one gets INBED, which we got from just the crossword-gimme REB cross, they can just enter B and ED in grid wherever there's an *. But OK, maybe for Thursday...

    I liked LENNON, which I would have just entered with no crosses, but for the possibility of George. And I did enter LENNON with no direct crosses, but rather with only the Y from ABBY (36A: "Dear" one - that's not bad) which could only lead to YOKOONO. We also liked DRUMSET (21D: Group beaten in battle of the bands?) a lot.

    And I liked the cluing for AHEM. I mean, if you're going to have to have AHEM...

  3. 7:34. This was ludicrously easy for a Thursday. And I agree with Icarus that once you know the theme, you get three free letters per theme answer, which I used heartily throughout. ALERTER is simply awful, and SOARERS is maybe worse because of the useless pluralization. I don't know LALO Schifrin (I know Edouard Lalo, OTOH), or Leon EDEL. Those are the downsides. On the upsides, I liked RAMONA's clue (great books). SIDEB is an unexpected twist on a recently overused answer. Oh, well, I didn't love it.