Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014, Zhouqin Burnikel


When I caught on to 1A: Start to grunt? (HARDG) right away, I had a good feeling about the way things might go. Unfortunately, I tried "Lemon" for 6A: Air freshener scent (LILAC), but it was fixed pretty quickly, and things actually did move right along after that.

The theme is a tad odd, but very nicely done. The letters RSTLN and E are now given automatically in the "bonus round" of the show Wheel of Fortune. It didn't used to be that way. Remember when that giant lazy susan full of products with prices would turn, and the contestants would take the remainder on account? Those were the days… but I digress. As I was starting to say, the letters are all used as single letters, and the revealer, FREE (55D), is at least in the middle, even though it has no symmetrical clue up top.

There were some nice entries in here, but before I highlight any of them, I just want to say that I was surprised to find out that EDYS is the 58D: Brand known as Dreyer's in the West. I thought I just learned through another clue that EDYS was some guy's last name. Why would it be called by a different name in the West? Well, perhaps you've already guessed, but I'll tell you anyway. The company was started as "Edy's Grand Ice Cream" in Oakland, in 1953, by two guys named Joseph Edy and William Dreyer, but in 1947 the company was dissolved. Later, Dreyer Jr. got control somehow, and changed the name to Dreyer's, and then later still, the Edy's name was resurrected when the company expanded east of the Rockies, so the product wouldn't be confused with Breyers. Stranger still, when we were in school in the Midwest, there was a local ice cream place called Dryan's… but that has little bearing on this puzzle.

Other things I liked were CHESS (10D: Game in which pieces can be forked), NOMEN (65A: "Julius," e.g., in Gaius Julius Caesar) (as opposed to the praenomen and cognomen), RHAPSODY (3D: Liszt piece), and GREWWEARY (5D: Tired) (nice double Ws). FIST (59A: Symbol of authority) was nice, too, and it took me three crosses before I realized what it was! Also, it's symmetrical with WEAK (21A: Watered down), coincidence? I wonder. And who doesn't love the AMISH (15A: Plain people) (at least it wasn't "Otoes").

My biggest complaint might be that SAE (58A: Autograph seeker's encl.) is less familiar than "SASE," but coincidentally, there was an SAE (sigma alpha epsilon - I don't want to bother finding a Greek keyboard) fraternity at that same school that was near Dryan's. Interesting, no?

- Horace


  1. 10:20. Not much fun doing these crosswords on a laptop. I have to scroll up to see across clues and the bottom of the puzzle; they can't both be on the screen at the same time. I'll try experimenting with the size of the print.

    But enough about that. The puzzle was really quite good. I thought the theme would be initials followed by words that started with the same letter (RRATEDMOVIE, SSTAR), but that broke down quickly after that. Great to have LFRANKBAUM clued with a non-Oz book. "Zixi of Ix" is another one that doesn't have Oz in the title. LOESS was a word I'm sure Horace's father (and thus Horace and co.) knew, but it took most of the crosses for me to get. Hedy LAMARR always reminds me of "Blazing Saddles," where Harvey Korman's character was named Hedley Lamarr and always had to correct people. Korman was a very funny actor playing angry people, and did it to perfection on The Carol Burnett Show.

    Anyway, good puzzle.

  2. 15:42
    I seem to have had my Tuesday brain for this puzzle. I apparently wasn't expecting the consonant rich answers like HARDG, GREWWEARY, and TROWEPRICE and it took me a while to come around for some reason. But I do agree that it was worth the slog. I will aver that I know absolutely nothing about any Wheel of Fortune bonus round and why those letters would be free. I'd also take issue with FIST as a Symbol of authority, perhaps as similarly low brow. I did not know SVEN meant "young man," so that was nice.

    Colum, I also always think of Blazing Saddles with any mention of Hedy Lamarr and Korman's exasperation. And try "CTRL" + "-" to zoom out and make more fit on the screen. "CTRL" + "+" puts it back. If on Mac OS it's "Command" + "-".

  3. 10:25
    Colum, are you solving with Across Lite? I love it on my laptop. And I agree about the great Harvey Korman: always excellent. I loved SSTAR, RHAPSODY and FLAT (33A Black keys, in some key signatures). Also, TRYSTS (47D No-tell motel meetings), ABHOR (14A Shudder at) and RRATEDMOVIE (17A *Fare for those 17 and up). And who doesn't love ASIAGO and GLARES (13D Gives the evil eye)? Good puzzle.

  4. Actually, I'm solving on Hope's laptop while we're on vacation. At home, no issues on my iMac.