Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014, Susan Gelfand


Strange theme today, focussed on Thanksgiving (?) and things used to tie things up. A turkey, however, doesn't usually come with lace. Or ribbon. For me, the revealer didn't really work.

Also, starting with NCR (1A: Big A.T.M. maker) doesn't really put one in a hopeful mood, and indeed, there were more than a few well-worn answers. But, on the other hand, there were a few things that cheered me up. One was ENSOR (56D: Belgian painter James), made famous (to us, at least) by the song by They Might Be Giants. Now, whenever we hear of him, see one of his paintings in a museum, or even see his name in a crossword, we think of that song and smile. POBOY (57A: Hero of New Orleans), too, was nicely clued. When "Jackson" wouldn't fit, I was stumped. EXPRESS (45A: Local's counterpart) also had me flummoxed for a while.

Looking over the grid as a whole, I notice quite a few high-point Scrabble letters, so that's nice. And I guess I can't really dislike a puzzle with PABSTBLUERIBBON (17A: Brand with the tagline "Established in Milwaukee 1844") running right across top section.

Lastly, and more to the point, this puzzle has a couple pieces of fill that make my next few sentences very easy. ALPINELACE (51A: Deli counter cheese brand) introduces the topic of Frannie and I traveling (later today) to the home of many great Alpine cheeses (none of which is made by Alpine Lace), very close, in fact, to EVIAN. We will be in remote areas where, they say, there is no internet. Only cows with bells and folks blowing alpenhorns and yodeling back and forth across the valleys. And without the intertubes, how are we to review, or even complete (?!) the daily puzzles?

That's where a NEURO (7D: Prefix with surgeon) -logist comes into the picture. We are passing the keys to friend and frequent commenter, Colum Amory, who will keep this train on the tracks for the next week and a half. The blog has been firing on all cylinders recently, and we will miss seeing all the comments, but if we do happen to come across any stray internets, we'll check in.

Happy Puzzling, and we'll see you again soon!

- Horace


  1. 13:59
    Well, first of all, enjoy your trip. We (Sue and I) just finished up our final trip of nine since late October, and we're looking forward to just staying at the YBH for awhile.
    Second, I, too, was disheartened by NCR right at 1A. I could have come up with a better clue for VIXEN than 15A One of Santa's reindeer, an untimely effort. Strangely, I knew AINGE and CAGER pretty quickly. Sue and I recently rode by Mt. FUJI a couple of times, and I always like answers like SSTAR, although I needed some crosses for it, thinking it was probably a proper name as opposed to a type. Least favorites: KIDDO, BURPS and AHA. Blue: SCREW.

  2. 12:05 I loved this Tuesday effort. The Thanksgiving thing didn't bother me at all. What I like best is LUNATICFRINGE right across the middle. Great stuff. How many of you filled in PERCY with no crosses? I did. Love seeing the little green engine in there! Thought there were some seriously-hard-for-a-Tuesday answers in here, and of course I enjoy that: HELGA, ENSOR (I'm not a huge follower of "They . . . Giants), ALEXA, and, even though I nailed it, the aforementioned PERCY. CYBERPUNK and ENCRYPTED make a nice symmetrical pair. BURPS is interesting in that it is the transitive version of the verb. To me, that makes it a clever clue/answer. VIXEN's clue is indeed weak. That could well have been a Shortz edit to bring the difficulty down close to Tuesday standards. I toast the puzzle --but with a Pabst rather than a glass of '98 Leoville Poyferre.

  3. 7:32. This was an odd one. I didn't love it, but there were parts I really liked. The long answers were all very good with the exception of SPINALCORD. Is it part of the back? Yes, I suppose so, although I really think the back is made up of the bones and muscles, while the spinal cord is its own special thing. Nitpicking from the NEUROlogist. I'm definitely going to quibble with YEA and AYE in the same puzzle, clued essentially identically. Not good enough for the NYT, IMO. And what's with 68A: Bub (KIDDO)? I think that's just wrong. So a lot of things I didn't like. Mixed bag for me.