Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday, September 5, 2014, Joe Krozel


The theme of this one blew me away. I mean, who notices that WAITING (20D: On hold … or what the seven rows of black squares in this puzzle's grid spell in Morse code) can be worked into a puzzle grid so that it is symmetrical? It's brilliant!

Really. I just think it's so cool that I hardly even want to dissect the puzzle at all. I just want to bask in the glory of the theme. The getting-almost-routine Friday mini-theme.

But I suppose I have to say one or two things. I'll start with a bad one, so I can finish up with more good things. OLDAGEPENSIONER (1A: Elderly person on a fixed income) seems a bit awkward. There. Also, I've never heard of VOSS (18A: 1957 Patrick White novel adapted into a 1986 opera). Should I have?

OK, if you look around too much, you see ALDO (47A: Ray of old pictures) (who? Why not clue this with the shoe brand?), POLA (51A: Silents actress Negri), ITT, ETH, INON, PGS, GES, and so on.

The rest of the fifteens were pretty decent, though. I enjoyed RACETOTHEBOTTOM (17A: Deterioration of standards by competitive forces) and STEMLESSGLASSES (60A: Tumblers) the best.

Also enjoyed FAZOOL (21D: Pasta ____ (Italian dish, informally), and the too-too clever PAT (7D: Word that is its own synonym when spelled backward).

Lastly, I feel we triumphed in a small way today by making good on a promise made earlier this week. We did not hit "submit" as soon as we put in the last letter, but reviewed (we found two typos!) and revisited a known problem area for us - the H in CHAW (48A: It's a mouthful) and HOTL (49D: Lanford Wilson's "The ____ Baltimore"). I think I had an R in there, but "ROTL" made no sense. "HOTL" didn't make much either, but I assumed that it must be short for "hotel," and Frannie thought maybe it was like a neon sign with a letter out. Either way, we went with H and got the "Well Done!" Very satisfying.

Happy Friday!

- Horace


  1. 39:20
    I'll take this one, even though I got the "A" in CHAW wrong (I had an "o" there because I didn't know the cross, 50D Messenger de Dieu (ANGE)). So sue me. I was off and running with this one with 1D Bruin legend (ORR) which I thought was too easy, especially for a Friday! The OLD part of the next word went in, then the LEAVES part of the 2D, the DE of 3D, etc., and the thing just filled in steadily. It was very satisfying. The theme is, indeed, quite nice also. REEDUCATIONCAMP looks great, as does ASSETALLOCATION (which I both like and do). ISOLDE went right in with one cross, and NICKELANDDIMING was excellent (I've got to tell that one to Sue). I even liked IDUNNO (38A "Beats me"). A good, solid, entertaining puzzle.

  2. 15:47. For once, I did not find a "stack" puzzle to be annoying. I think the reason why is that the triple stacks in the N and S do not therefore lead to terrible fill in the middle. I love the paired 11-letter answers in the NW and SE. I wanted "Appalachian" for 24D (Sone backwoods folk), even though it clearly needed to be a plural (I had "AMA" for HMO initially (see what I did there?)). HILLBILLIES was nice instead, and MODERNDANCE was good too. I don't get HOTL, and I too wanted CrAW for CHAW. The first 15-letter I got was GREATGRANDNIECE, with only the C in place.

    I agree that there are plenty of "meh" answers, but overall I liked it.