Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014, Bruce Haight


A real STARSTUDDED (60A: Like the Oscars … or the answers to this puzzle's seven asterisked clued?) puzzle today! I had to look a bit to find the sixth and seventh asterisked answers! I kept looking at WISECRACKS (46 Words from class clowns) and MADAGASCAR (32A: Title island of a 2005 DreamWorks animated film), but to no avail. They are, instead, out on the perimeter - the amusingly dated (right? No one makes this claim anymore, do they?) LESSTAR (13D: *Cigarette ad claim) and the even-more-obscure ASTARTE (40D: *Ancient fertility goddess).

Even after the rough start in the NW, with DRJ, EAU, and PJS (none of which is terrible by itself, but the group together seemed a little much), this puzzle won me over with the excellently clued BEERGUT (11D: Opposite of six-pack abs, ironically). After that, it was a smiling solve.

Another thing I liked was TORTUGA (31A: Island setting for "Pirates of the Caribbean"). It's my favorite contrada in Siena, and when we were there to see the Palio a few years ago, their horse won! And COMTE (57A: Title for a French nobleman) is one of Frannie's favorite cheeses, and it was made in an area very close to where we spent time in a chalet earlier this Spring… even SORORAL (47A: Sisterly), which on another day I might well have found a bit much, today looks interesting and unusual. Such is the power of amusing cluing, I guess.

Nice clues for little stuff, too. TEE (66A: Driving need), EST (69A: Suffix for braggarts), ORE (48D: Some Scandinavian coins) (well… at least it's different!), DAS (69D: Hip-hop's ____ Racist) (!), KEG (45D: Bud holder, of sorts), and how 'bout that strange "Dennis the Menace" pairing? Where'd that come from? GIE (9D: Bestow on, to Burns), however, is pushing it. Any of those damn "Burnsisms" is pushing it, if you ask me… and I love poetry!

Overall, I liked this one. It wasn't perfect, but for a Wednesday, it wasn't bad.

- Horace


  1. 15:50
    But haven't we seen enough of EOS and EDU for a while? However, I did enjoy the unusual cluing for TSE (61D "Cats" inspirer's monogram); a nice switch from "half an African menace," for example. What Horace said on BEERGUT and KEG. I also loved the cluing for RAJAH (14A Big Indian), which I filled in with just the DRJ and EAU clues entered, but what else could it have been? Nice theme and good puzzle overall.

  2. 7:18. Well, I had a lot to say, but it got erased. In any case, I liked MADAGASCAR COSTARICA WISECRACKS, the section that is not theme-related. I didn't like the 29 (!) 3-letter answers. ATONEGO doesn't seem like a viable phrase, and I couldn't parse THATSAGO for some time. In any case, I enjoyed the puzzle just fine.

    Too bad about The Netherlands. Messi vs Germany? I have my money on the Germans.

  3. Yeah, I think it's going to be hard for Argentina to win, but Messi's due for a great game, and wouldn't it be nice if it were to be the final? Still, either way, I could find a reason to be happy. As always, I'm just looking for a good game.