Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014, Dick Shlakman and Jeff Chen


Kind of a cute homonym theme today. None of them were keel-over-laughing hilarious or anything, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be IDYLLSIDLEIDOLS (54A: PASTORAL POEMS INCAPACITATE TEEN FAVES), just for the word "idylls." Not sure why the clues had to be in all caps, but maybe it was just to identify them as theme material.

The ALBA/ELBA sequence was fun, although both are crossword darlings, and it's a nice belittling of ART with the clue "22A: Caricatures and such." Kind of like clueing "literature" with "Crossword blogs and whatnot." In fact, now that I look at it a little more, there were other clues that seemed just a little off. 23A: "Now or never" time for DDAY? I guess I think of it more as "Now is the time" rather than, "it's now or never." A fine line maybe, but I draw it. And BROWSE is a 25A: Netflix menu heading? It's not one that comes up when I get to Netflix through the TV. "New Releases," "Comedies," "Because you watched..." sure, those are all menu headings. "Browse?" not so much. And 18D: Wisenheimer (SMARTY) really needs to have the "pants" part of "smartypants, doesn't it? And furthermore, what the hell is ASH brown?

But I didn't come here today to trash the puzzle. I thought it was fine while I was doing it, and a definite step up from yesterday. ORIT (40A: "Pics ____ didn't happen" ("Where's the proof?!")) was nice and fresh. And everyone loves a SATYR (62A: Lecherous goat-man) in the grid, right? The long downs: ABANDONSHIP (3D: Final order from the captain) and SETSARECORD (26D: Becomes worthy of the Guinness Book, say) were both quite nice. DADA (24A: "_____ means nothing" (1918 manifesto declaration)) was something I hadn't heard before, and the date really threw me off. Interesting, though. It was Tristan Tzara (photo) who wrote the manifesto. Other nice quotes of his are "thought is produced in the mouth," and "logic is always false." Interesting guy, Tzara. I'll have to look into him some more.

So, for that, and for the cute-ish theme, I give this a thumbs up. It wasn't great or anything, but it was a serviceable Wednesday.

- Horace

p.s. Over on the Wordplay blog today, there's commentary by Jeff Chen about comparing times with Dan Feyer (reigning ACPT champion) when solving his (Jeff's) own puzzles. It's worth a look.


  1. 11:32
    I particularly liked BADRAP (29D: Unjust verdict) and, somewhat surprisingly, thought NOPROB (9D: "You got it") was fun, too. And the BRONTE/BROWSE cross was nice.

    ASH brown is weak. And I hated seeing ODOR in such an exposed position at the end.

    But, yes, who doesn't like homonyms?

  2. 21:37
    SPAY got this puzzle off on the right foot for me. BTW, I knew as I was filling it in that Horace would like the IDYLL... theme answer the best, for the reason given by himself. I never tire of ALBA, and thought that 35A Piece of Slate, e.g. (ESSAY) was quite good. I like the theme just fine. I didn't figure it out right away, though; I needed a majority of the crosses to recognize PEAKSPIQUEPEKES, then the rest of them fell. On the whole, the puzzle would've gone faster but I was bogged down in the west until LINDT struck me. I must admit that I'm none too familiar with Guinea-BISSAU, so I required all of the crosses for that one.

  3. 5:29. I got the theme as soon as I filled in PEAK, and the other long clues fell quickly, making the puzzle altogether too easy. Although the passive (clue) to active (answer) switch in the BOARSBOREBOERS confused me for a bit, especially when I got DeDA as an answer. I thought ABANDONSHIP was a very nice entry, and RKELLY looks cool in the grid. I also liked the misleading 1918 manifesto clue pairing with the pre-1918 autocrat clue. Over all, I liked this one just fine.