Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014, Eric Berlin


An interesting and more challenging than usual Sunday puzzle. Not knowing which two letters would be removed (until we had 72-Across, that is) made the solve slightly slower, but after we got it (the crosses gave it away), it was much easier to see what was going on. It's a little strange to have the new words with no clues, and I get that the downs ignored the circles altogether, but in the case of 90D: *Not rough (G[E]NE) ("gentle"), it seemed wrong, somehow, to have the circled letter there in the middle of the truncated word. Overall, though, the feat is an impressive one. The solve, however, was not especially fun.

Starting with ENWRAP (1A: Swaddles, e.g.) didn't help. And the down coming off it EDW (1D: One of eight Eng. kings) was no better. There were quite a few less-than-inspired words, actually. RECHAINS, ALICK, STRETTO (at least we knew this one this time, after having seen it in the plural very recently), ISITA… In fact, some of the most interesting fill - REBUKES, LEGION, GRAVITY, and HERALD were broken up and turned into lesser words. And other things that were somewhat interesting - GAROTTE and OWNGOAL, for example, were off-putting. The French was more esoteric than usual, with AMENDE (52D: French fine), and there just wasn't much that was clever or made us smile. Too much IDS, LST, PFC, IND, SRTA, OSTE, HGTS, AVI, STET, EMIR

Lastly, ERAT in Latin means "was." It's a simple imperfect. It does not mean "was to be." That's some kind of passive periphrastic or some such other horrible tense that I don't even want to think about. Why complicate things? Just say "Latin I verb" or something like that…

In short, not our favorite Sunday.

- Horace


  1. 45:25
    I started with SUCK, Don KNOTTS, and CARUSO right off the bat. But I had kind of a brain cramp getting my head around the theme and didn't finish off FRIE(ND)S and F(AL)LOUT for quite a while. I guess I concede to getting into the spirit of it by the end and even using the matched and unmatched letter pairs to finish off a couple of tougher areas. I'd agree it was a bit convoluted, sometimes novelty is fine: a Jumble/Crossword theme.

  2. ~25 mins. I loved the theme, and found the adding and taking away made what would have been a not so interesting puzzle much more enjoyable. I will quibble with the fact that some of the diminished words had more than one possible choice, such as HER[AL]D and HE[RA]LD. Once you had 72A filled in (about 2-3 minutes in for me), those choices were limited, but I would have preferred for aesthetic purposes that there were only one possible choice per word. I liked STRETTO, GAROTTE, and RISOTTO, and thought OWNGOAL was amusing and a propos. I agree that AMENDE was poor.

  3. 74:36
    I finished the vast majority of this puzzle in 43:45 but then was bogged down with SHED, MALIGN, OVEREAT, RAVEN, etc. down there in the SW. Also the NE had me flummoxed for a bit with PALMOIL, LION etc. so the other half hour was devoted to those two areas. I, like Icarus Fob and Colum, enjoyed the puzzle. Haven't we come to terms with some less than inspired shorter fill being necessary with these larger works?