Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014, Gerry Wildenberg


First of all, this one had circles, which, as you may know, is not our favorite theme type. Second, it started with a product name, which is not our favorite type of fill. Third (ok, now I'm just reaching for a third thing…), the fourth line includes NLERS, RIATA, and AAR. If that's not pure crosswordese gold, I don't know what is.

On the other hand, like yesterday, this played above it's "day grade," as it were, and those bits of easy (for the habitual solver) crosswordese can sometimes really help to open up the grid. I was not at all sure where they were going with 5A: Big balls (GALAS), for instance, and they avoided the obvious in a big way with MAGDA (15A: One of the Gabor sisters), too. "Citizen Kane" gets another nod today with SLOANE (11D: Everett ____, player of Mr. Bernstein in "Citizen Kane") - and that's not exactly a gimme, nor was 26A: Actor Claude of "B. J. and the Bear" (AKINS). Remember "B. J. and the Bear?" No? Neither do I.

This puzzle went so slowly for me, in fact, that Frannie got to take a crack at it, which doesn't usually happen on a Tuesday. SLIPSLOP (40D: Twaddle), KASDAN (27D: Lawrence who co-wrote two of the "Star Wars" films), HEGOAT (32D: Billy) - not the easiest of fill.

As it turned out, the theme was fine. Not worth its weight in gold, perhaps, but fine. The direction alternated a lot, so you couldn't just fill them in once you figured it out without at least two of them filled in, which was a nice feature. In fact, it really didn't affect the solving at all. I guess that's how it ought to be during the week, you do the puzzle and then think, "Oh, look. A theme."

In the end, I appreciate the challenge. A decent enough Tuesday.

- Horace


  1. 14:26
    Well, not that it's a competition, but I seem to have edged you out by eight seconds, which doesn't happen often. Of course, the hand-off to Frannie could account for that. Anyway, OGDEN Nash is always welcome, and I came up with, though I never heard of, 28A Jazz great named after an Egyptian god (SUNRA); with only the SU filled in, I guessed, correctly on the remainder. And I was recently in 33A Home of the University of Nevada (RENO) and spent a considerable amount of time on the University grounds. The Battle of the YSER is, sadly, not known to me; I should read up on WWI sometime soon. COLBY isn't one of my favorite cheeses (a bit blah), and I don't know much about "Frozen," so OLAF is not familiar. Some good: BEGOT, ENIGMA, TRUDGE, SOANDSO, GOOSES. Some bad: AMEBA, UNSTOW. I guess there's more good than bad.

  2. 8:44. Another day this week with a harder than usual puzzle, all seem to agree. I like SPENDER, but OLDLINE (?) and BOGEYING is a touch weird. And then you have EWER. So I agree, that NW corner is subpar (see what I did there?). In fact, each area with the GOLDNUGGETS is a stretch, mostly because of the need to fit a DG or GD somewhere in the area. So the center is very nice. I really like the collection of SIMMERS, GOLDNUGGETS, and SOANDSO, the last the most of the three. I knew KASDAN, which helped, but it took some time to see HEGOAT.

    A lot of proper nouns in this one: SOBE, MAGDA, ATARI, ALDAS, ALDO, SUNRA, AKINS, ARLEDGE, OGDEN, AGON (we'll be seeing Agon in January as part of Phoebe's annual New York City Ballet birthday present). So I appreciate the work that went into this puzzle, but I didn't love it.