FOUR BY FOUR
Sometimes the Sunday grids look more huge than other times, and this is one of those weeks. Is it really just a 21x21? I guess so, but damn, look at it! So many letters! … and no, I'm not drunk.
So it's six four-word phrases made up of four-letter words. That's the theme? And one is a Reagan quote? Hmph. My favorite one is SALTLAKECITYUTAH (48A: The Crossroads of the West), because it's such a real thing. It just IS, know what I mean? And no, I haven't even had a drink!
Loved certain parts of this, like the cute (can it be called cute? Is it "too soon?") clue for JOANOFARC (80A: Historic figure with a reputation at stake?), CALORIE (21A: Small thing to burn) - because I've been successfully counting them since April (why yes, I've lost about twenty, thanks for asking!), ABUT (87A: Go cheek-to-cheek with) - because we are obviously meant to think "a-butt," and STOIC (98A: Unflinching) - because I just read all about them and their "front porch" philosophy. They took their name from the place they used to meet - Zeno's front porch, or, in Greek, his stoa. POLL (126A: Take in some views?) was nicely clued, and ENCLAVE (124A: Vatican City vis-à-vis Rome) is a nice word.
There's some junk in here, as is often the case on a Sunday. ASAMI (32D: "Ditto") seems oddly forced, some weird prefixes and abbreviations like IDENT, STETHO, OVI, ACTH, and NEURO. I kind of hate the word CAGER, and I also dislike being reminded of SCALIA and the NSA.
The toughest area for us was in the NE, where SERIN (15D: Relative of a canary) (pictured above) crossed TANEY (35A: Chief Justice during the Civil War) (three Supreme Court names!). I had guessed "edgy" for 29D: Hard to grasp (EELY), which made that area and LOINS (39A: Private parts) (Huygens!) very difficult, but Frannie finally worked through it and we guessed correctly on the N in TANEY. Phew!
My favorite clue - 99D: No one can drive in this (NEUTRAL). Hah!
On balance, it was a decent enough Sunday.
So the theme is just not interesting enough. Four four letter words, making phrases that have no relation to each other. On the other hand, such an undemanding set of theme answers means the fill is more interesting on the whole. The only area I had any difficulty with was the middle N, where I had put "det" in for ALT, thinking of detour. TANEY I knew, SERIN, not so much. And IMARETS? I just don't know.ReplyDelete
I was in that ENCLAVE, not so long ago.
Well, TANEY is pretty famous having delivered the majority opinion in the Dred Scott case, so I got him right away. I, of course, liked the Reagan quote and SCALIA, but I didn't like to be reminded too much of ELENA, but I guess we'll accept her. I starred quite a bit, including CALORIE and LOINS (both previously mentioned). Also I starred JOANOFARC because it IS too soon! I loved the clue for ROGET (84A Shelfmate of Bartlett's, maybe) and THOU (18D G). And couldn't a more blue clue have been thought of for ERECT (13D Build)?ReplyDelete