Sunday, July 27, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014, Tom McCoy


Hmm… to me, string isn't cable, and string isn't yarn, and string isn't rope… but I guess I see what they were trying to do. And, to be fair, string has many definitions, none of which, in the dictionary I have at hand, specifically describes the white cotton object I think of when I hear the word. So, fine, have it your way, Mr. McCoy.

Now that we got that out of the way, let's get right to the word SENESCED (37D: Grew old). It's not a Monday word. Neither, probably, is ASSYRIA (52A: Nineveh's land). Nor ADELIE (2D: Penguin variety). I suppose many will, but I did not know that the 64A: Weasley family owl was named ERROL, nor had I ever heard of HEYARNOLD (30A: Nickelodeon show whose protagonist has a football-shaped head), or TRYHARDS (38D: Those who put a lot of effort into social climbing, in modern lingo) - but those lacunae should not surprise anyone who knows me. I didn't take much interest in Harry Potter, I don't have cable, and I certainly don't try to do much social climbing. There, now you know me, too. Happy?

It's funny, I didn't mind this puzzle while I was doing it - I enjoy the word GAUNTLET (12D: Knight's glove), and RIPSAWS (24A: Cutters that cut with the grain) and DEEPS (29A: Watery abysses) are nice. SPARKLER (25D: Hand-held Fourth of July firework) sparkles, and LOSELOSE (17D: Like a catch-22 situation) is good, and I loved the trivia in SUM (19A: 666, for the numbers on a roulette wheel), but the theme, once I paused to figure it out after solving, actually detracted a bit from the overall enjoyment. As stated above, I have a problem with the very idea, and then the phrases themselves are a bit random. ANYLONGER (44A: For even a second more)? VOCABLESSON (59A: Component of a language class, informally). For some reason, the informality annoys me.

I guess I liked more than I disliked, so it gets a thumbs up, but not way up. How's that?

- Horace


  1. 39:51
    Well, Jeremy liked the QUARTET of STRINGS. He guessed NYLON from ROPE, then CABLE, and then laughed about the STRINGQUARTET, filling in the missing letters. But yes, SENESCE is not a word I knew, nor one frankly that I'm all that happy to learn about at this station in life. Maybe it will be all right as long as mon fils doesn't start using it!

    I was lucky I had him helping, what with ERROL from Harry Potter and HEYARNOLD, although I don't believe he's ever seen the show. On the flip side, he got to learn about being Kafta-ESQUE and Catch-22!

  2. 7:32. Definitely not a Monday, and I agree the theme is just not that great. I was stuck thinking that it was going to be a particular STRINGQUARTET, not the generic one (say, the Brentano, within which plays my brother). I guess that wouldn't work, so I don't know why I was barking up that particular tree. SENESCED is terrible. Simply awful. I don't mind the other answers you mentioned, although I've never heard of HEYARNOLD either. It's a nice open grid, but somehow the fill overall wasn't that great.

  3. 12:16
    Agreed this was more-than-a-Monday with obscurer than normal answers. And did anyone notice that Family Guy fit right in where HEYARNOLD goes? I already had a couple of crosses and so didn't fill that in, but it made me pause for a bit. The theme didn't bother me at all, and I did enjoy the trivia (although I already knew the "666" trivia). I didn't think that Horace would like LOSELOSE...doesn't he have something against win-win?