Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014, Ethan Cooper


I think that, in preparation for any future participation in crossword puzzle tournaments, I should start to review puzzles before submitting them. Today's puzzle was a DNF, or a FWOE (Finished With One Error) as I prefer to call it, because I had initially guessed "mMNO" (ridiculous, I know) for UMNO (16A: "Let me think … yeah, that's stupid"), leaving me with NmMERAL for NUMERAL (10D: What's required in some passwords) at the end. The error took me about two seconds to find as I quickly scanned the grid for irregularities. Why didn't I just do that before I submitted? Well, who knows, but I'm going to put a little more effort into taking that last step from now on. Frannie and I competed online at this years ACPT, and found that the bonus for having no errors upon completion is greater than the penalty for taking, say, one more minute to complete a puzzle, so it just makes good sense.

But enough about all that, let's get down to brass tacks, shall we? It's another "back-to-school" theme, and I enjoyed it pretty well. I like the brazenness of including beer in the COLLEGEEXPENSES (54A: What tuition and the starts of 17-, 22-, 37-(?), and 47-Across are). I notice, only now, that they put a question mark after the beer one, but still, I chuckle. There's bonus theme-related fill, too, with MIXER (3D: First-week-of-school social event) and COEDS (64A: Female students, condescendingly).

It's odd, don't you think, that we see NETLOSS (4D: Unfortunate bottom line on an earnings report) so soon again, but there's nothing inherently wrong with it. There might be reason to nix APPLET, though, as that word seems to have gone out of style in favor of "app." Or am I so out of touch myself with the programming world that it is I, not the word, who has gone out of style? And speaking of out of style, 25D: Late, as a video store rental (OVERDUE). Video store rental?? Today's college kids probably don't even remember them. Oh, and speaking of that, I might as well put in a plug for my old college advisor's creation, the Mindset List.

But there's some lovely fill, too, like MAXIM, INGENUE, VENOM, ALBEIT, PLASM and TABLA (35D: Indian drum) which reminds me of an old high school crush who played one. Who plays the tabla in high school? Well, Suzy did. Angelically.

Favorite clue 32D: Place where one can come home and chill? (IGLOO).
Runner up, another "home" clue: 38D: Home located in the sticks? (NEST).

Least favorite clue: 59D: Groups of cops: Abbr. (PDS). What is that? Police divisions?

- Horace


  1. 8:26, FWOE, for STEvIE, with vIPE across, which I will defend myself by saying that I thought it might be slang I was unfamiliar with. I am completely unfamiliar with Family Guy. And another cross which could have been a "Natick," with SNELL crossing ADEN, although I was pretty certain about the latter. I love to see INGENUE in the crossword, as I routinely had a crush (to follow your theme) on any young woman I was playing the ingenu across from in a G&S production. I don't like ELSES, PLASM (?), or ODIE. I do like IRKED instead of "irk" as we often see, and ALBEIT, a lovely word. In my puzzle, 37A: Pub tidbit (BEERNUT) is not given a "?".

  2. I guess it's really plasma, right? I don't know what I was thinking. And same for me with ADEN, it's seen frequently, but only dimly remembered. Perhaps it's time to look at it on a map...

    And as for the "?," it only appears in the clue for the revealer, not the BEERNUT clue itself. I think they're trying to distance themselves from the idea that beer is actually a college expense.

  3. 11:39
    PD=Police Department. The only thing that I starred was 45D Not homo- (HETERO): are we supposed to be saying that? I'd never heard of a SNELL or a TABLA, but the crosses were gettable, so this was a good puzzle. How can something be knocked that starts with DAMN (1A "Oh, hell!")? That's quality.