Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014, Jules P. Markey


Two things about the theme - 1. It is somewhat odd that the revealer begins with a "PO" that is not in rebus form. 2. The clue of the revealer "39A: Mail conveniences ... or a hint to eight square in this puzzle" (POSTOFFICEBOXES) gives away too much. I don't think we had any of the rebus squares yet when we read this, but after reading it, you know what you're looking for, even if you don't get the answer right away.

On the brighter side, it's nice, I guess, that the rebuses are all contained in symmetrical long answers (although some critics find that sort of structure in a rebus puzzle also gives away too much, once you catch on to it).

I also enjoyed much in this puzzle. SHIITE (32A: Ayatollah Khomeini, e.g.) was good, GARTER (44A: Hose attachment) was tricky for me, but Frannie got it quickly. ASHE (18A: 26-Across of a North Carolina "-ville") (candidate for "Most Opaque Clue" of the year!) and E[PO]NYM (26A: See 16-Across) (gee, thanks) were tricky for both of us, but it eventually made sense. Wow, though. Really?

ANA (22A: Carrier to Tokyo) is unfamiliar, and MESNE (47A: Intermediate, in law) was too, even with some Latin. And even after looking it up, I'm still not certain I know whether or not it is related to "demesne." ITER (20A: Roman road), on the other hand, was a gimme. And speaking of legal matters, 56A: Legal borders? (ELS) totally got me today! They love that kind of clue, and I know it, and it still got me!

Lastly, I feel I must point out that "Wizard of Oz Week" continues today with TOTO (24D: Film pooch) (I originally tried "Asta").

Overall, I guess I liked it more than I didn't like it. You?

- Horace


  1. 38:33, and even then it wouldn't let me call it finished because for some reason the software wouldn't allow me to put more than one letter into a box. Yes, the revealer clue was too revealing, but I had an inkling something was up when I went through (somehow missing the clue for 39A and had entered so little. I suspected ASHE, and should have just put it in, but E[PO]NYM was very unclear. I wanted SemITE for the Ayatollah Khomeini, but I suspect that's not accurate. I also wanted EXpaNSIVE for EXTENSIVE. I hate MESNE. Shouldn't even be in there, IMO. Otherwise, it was definitely challenging for a Thursday, even once I knew the rebus theme!

  2. That does not sound like very good puzzle software. Is it official NYT issue? Across Lite? or something else entirely?

  3. 33:53
    Funny. E[PO]NYM was one of the first half dozen answers we entered, mostly from having gotten the E_N_M and figuring with PHONY the inevitable (12D: Impostor) it had to be EPONYM and thus a rebus.

    On the other hand, we had a lot of wrong stuff in there for a while, like Trot (1A: Pace) before we figured the rebus, Email (2D: send), CLERIC (although SHIITE is must nicer), POPCORNmakER, pEAPOd, POstPOSITION, and also EXpaNSIVE. But I guess that's more common on rebus puzzles.

    I flew ANA to Tokyo. I've seen that in puzzles before, but surprisingly less than one might expect for a vowel heavy 3-letter answer. We liked TARRED (21A: Besmirched), TEAPOT (23A: Cozy thing?), MAKEAFIST, and I hadn't known that T.S. Eliot won the 1948 Nobel.

    We were a little confused with the change in how to enter a rebus multi-letter answer, but it's a setting. The clock even stops while you go in there and make changes.

  4. 33:47
    Across Lite allows up to eight letters in a square, rebus-style. Instead of TOTO, I tried cujO, which I really wanted to work, but it obstinately refused to work with 75% of the crosses. I starred 44A Hose attachment (GARTER) as being, as Horace pointed out, tricky. Also tricky was the oft-seen 51A John of Liverpool (LOO), for which I wrongly entered ian at first. 8D Sleep-inducing (SO[PO]ORIFIC) is a nice word to see in a puzzle. "Semite" probably wouldn't accurately describe the Ayatollah, though that would be nice. I figured out the theme relatively quickly, so this puzzle went very nicely for me. Thumbs up.

  5. Horace, the software is NYT's website, but on Hope's new Macbook Pro. I don't know why it stopped allowing me to enter more than one letter, or to easily switch from one clue to its cross by double clicking on the appropriate clue.