Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014, Alan Arbesfeld


It took us a long time to get any of the theme answers, but finally, at around the 30 minute mark, we got one, then all of them, then the puzzle was done. Haven't we seen backward themes a lot in the past month or so? Well... two or three times, maybe, but I suppose it doesn't really matter. It still stumped us for a while! YGGIPRIDE (57A: Little kid's lift, literally) looks great, and RETRAUQSNEAK (42A: Gridiron maneuver, literally) almost looks like it could be something reading forward.

The first thing I got today was OGLE (15A: Inspect the figures?) which made me smile, but then the very next thing ENORM (16A: Huge, in verse), made me frown. ATT over ATTY didn't seem great, I don't know what ILA (29D: Pier grp.)is, and STN (30A: Place with a waiting room: Abbr.) is back (shouldn't it be "sta?"), SAS, ELHI, ESTEE and EPEE… and to top it off, we've got PROLIFE and QUAYLE in there too. Distasteful. And didn't NIKE (54D: Sponsor of Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods) drop Tiger after all that cheating and crashing the car stuff? And CDEF (21A: B's tail?)?!?

I did enjoy APOP (44D: How individual firecrackers are priced?), and 5A: Blood group? (CLAN) was nice. Does HEROIN (20A: "Smack") need the quotes in the clue? Isn't that kind of like an unnecessary question mark?

Overall, too many proper names, too much crosswordese, and not enough payoff. Not a great start to the turn, but as Ms. LEIGH (49D: O'Hara portrayer) would say, Tomorrow is another day.

- Horace


  1. 44:35
    As with Horace, once I figured out the theme (at about 40 mins.), the puzzle was done. Nothing in this puzzle had me INASNIT (38A Ticked off). Of the theme answers, I have an affinity for PMUHWHALE (17A Singer in the sea, literally) since we saw so, so many of these in Hawai'i. I starred 46A Comprehensive, in edspeak (ELHI) for its original cluing, and 1A Stars (SUNS) for its obviousness and for the fact that it took me awhile to get. I also starred OGLE (original cluing) and HEROIN (since I haven't heard that term in awhile, but Horace is correct that no quotes are necessary). CDEF was terrible (also starred) and 51D Hard fall (SLEET) was great. I thought that Frances would not have liked 52A Stocking stuffer (TOE), though it's often seen, and I thought that ET59 would get 47A Baseball Hall-of-Famer Aparicio (LUIS) right away, unlike me.

  2. 14:47. The first theme answer I got was YGGIPRIDE, and only once I had __GIPRIDE. All four theme answers are well done. I also love the trio of 9-letter answers in the NE and SW: excellent entries every one of them, particularly TRATTORIA for the memories it brings back, and NORTHEAST for being the SW. And isn't ALLCAPS brilliant for "Indicator of stress"? I love it. There is a lot of meh fill as well, as noted above, but overall I really enjoyed this one.

  3. Yes, perhaps I didn't give the stacked nines enough credit. Those were nice.

  4. 24:24
    I had no trouble, given my father-of-sons family status, with NERF (9D: Hasbro brand). I liked AURORA (39A: Skylights?) somehow. I guess that was where things started to get going. I was quite surprised I couldn't think of a gridiron maneuver (42A), even knowing there must be some twist, but then I got ---------NEAK and the whole puzzle fell into place. Oh, and Mrs. Fob got HERION. Don't know what to make of that.