Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014, Timothy Polin


I rather like this plant-based theme. I also like that both Across and Down clues are used for theme material, which always makes it seem a little more complete. Or elegant. Or both. Mr. Polin also managed to squeeze extra plant material into two corners with FERN (14A: Bit of office greenery) and YEWS (56D: Trees for making longbows).

Some highlights: BIKE (10A: Transportation for Mary Poppins or E.T.), SOBERSUP (20A: Gets more clearheaded), JERKS (27A: Ones cutting in line, e.g.), SEXTS (44A: Responds hotly?) (seems like it's been a while since we've had any good Huygens material!), ICEFOG (47A: Atmospheric phenomenon during low temperatures) (sounds so MENACE(S)ing!), ARMANI (53A: Milanese fashion house) (more Huygens material, but in a different way). And that's just the Across clues! In the Downs we see plenty more good stuff, and even the less-than-perfect stuff is salvaged by funny cluing - DEEPER (9D: Like the diving end of a pool vis-à-vis the other end) - or by association - IGETA (30D: Sinatra's "____ Kick Out of You").

Oh, I wasn't going to single out any more answers, but I loved OPIUMDEN (37D: Old-time drug hangout), JOWLS (27D: Features of a droopy face), and Frannie always enjoyed watching "Pimp My Ride" when we could catch it while at a hotel, so XZIBIT (48D: Rapper who hosted MTV's "Pimp My Ride") was fun to have in there, too.

In possibly non-Tuesday material, we have VIRAGO (25A: Shrew), LARUE (52D: Lash ____ of old westerns), and MESTIZA (49A: Mujer of mixed race). Those last two I have never seen before!

Overall, this was a very good Tuesday.

- Horace


  1. DNF (in 14:54)
    It's a rare Tuesday DNF for me, but I didn't know Mr. XZIBIT (I guessed, wrongly, XhIBIT), nor did I know it's cross, MESTIZA. I starred the SEXTS answer, for reasons mentioned above, as well as ARMANI and SOBERSUP. I did enjoy the puzzle, but I was bogged down with those couple of clues and finally just wrote in the "h." Oh well....

    1. I had a DNF as well for the exact same reason. Decent Tuesday, but I didn't love the theme.

  2. 7:47. So I didn't really understand the theme, and it's not made much better by the explanation I found on Rex Parker. I mean I get it now, I just don't love it. But in a nice turnaround, the fill more than makes up for the theme. I love just about everything you mentioned above. It took me until just now to understand EASYAS (I was seeing it as "easy as" rather than "easy As". I love VIRAGO, OPIUMDEN, BALLAST, and BASSSOLO with those sweet 3 Ss in a row. The middle section avoids any 3-letter answers, and manages to squeeze a fifth theme answer in. Overall, very well done, even if the theme left me cold.