Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014, Patrick Merrell


Maybe it was partly that I was solving on my own couch, with a coffee from my own espresso machine, but I liked this Wednesday offering. It was trickier than I expected it to be, and clues like 1A: Breather (LUNG), 7D: Round one (FATSO), 17A: Where there's smoke (FLUE) (excellent), and 68A: Drop when one is down (TEAR) took a little longer than others like ESTEE and IPOS, both quite familiar to any regular solver.

I enjoyed the punny theme, and three fifteens running across the grid, while not a ton of theme, seems elegant enough. They're not terribly hilarious, and the first one doesn't even really make sense, but they get better as they go along.

There were a lot of good, longer down answers today, too. GREEKMYTH (4D: Story set on Mount Olympus), SLAPSTICK (38D: Buster Keaton genre), THEDUDE (26D: Nickname for filmdom's Lebowski), and OBSCENE (22D: Censorship-worthy) among them. I also liked the "trivia fill:" KNOX (69A: The "K" in James K. Polk), LUNA (65A: Lime green 25-Across (MOTH)), and the very interesting DEER (12D: Traditional meat in a humble pie). Who knew it was a real thing?

Lastly, I very much enjoyed ISSUE (51D: People output), because I first thought of it as "output from people," i.e. "offspring," sometimes called "issue," but then I realized it was probably trying to use a hidden capital for the magazine. Either way, though, it works!

A fine Wednesday.

- Horace


  1. 17:07
    I found this trickier than a normal Wednesday, too, but more for MASHED (42A Like some potatoes), which eluded me for longer than it should have, 39A Result of Santa misplacing his papers (LISTLESSFEELING), and even RUTHLESSTACTICS (I was thinking of a uniform change or rule change). I had to stare at RANDD (67A Experimental division, for short), having arrived at it with the crosses, until I realized that it was "R and D," and I only got OCHOA through its crosses, too (61A Women's golf star Lorena), since that is a name I've not previously seen. But there were no "writeovers" today, so it was a very clean and satisfying grid.

  2. Oh, and welcome home! We just got a postcard from you in the mail today. That may be our POD for tomorrow (I already posted one for today). It seems to be dated 6/20, so it was pretty fast for an overseas mailing!

  3. 7:58. I agree, definitely tricksy cluing. The last answer I entered was LUNG. I didn't get NEURO for almost the whole puzzle as well, which is definitely some HUMBLE pie for me. I thought the theme was fine, although RUTHLESSTACTICS isn't really enough of a phrase in my opinion. Otherwise, the fill was above average, including the marvellous MRSWHO, from one of my fave YA SF classics. I agree with Huygens: every time I enter RANDD, I have to stare at it. We've seen a lot of TINA Fey recently, and BSIDE makes its second appearance in under a week. Do you think there's a gestalt for crossword answers, that they bubble up for a while? Hard to believe when it takes so long to get a puzzle published, according to Wordplay. Welcome home!

  4. Thanks, it's good to be back! Colum - thanks again for filling in. It was very hard to pick it up again while still on the road, and I just couldn't remember about the images! It's hard for me to understand, really - I'd notice one day that I forgot, but it was too difficult to get the computer out, start it up, get online, choose a photo… but each time I noticed (which, actually, was maybe only twice) I'd swear that I'd do it the next day, and then I forgot again. Travelling is hard. Well… trying to blog while travelling is hard. Now that I'm back, the blogging will get easier again, I hope. And also, now that we're home, we will have a chance to go back and do the puzzles we missed, and then we can finally read all your write-ups!

  5. It was fun blogging! Something to look forward to every day.