Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014, Zhouqin Burnikel and Don Gagliardo


How can I not like a puzzle about the bees? POLLINATION (62A: Job done by the insects seen above the circled words in 17-, 26-, and 50-Across) is a great revealer, and I like that the bees are on flowers. A circle puzzle that I like! Stop the presses!

But all was not asters and roses. I didn't really love REDOSE (5A: Medicate again), HELOTS (31A: Spartan serfs) is hella hard for a Wednesday, as were, for me at least, EDA (61A: Author LeShan), OLE (63D: "____ ELO" (1976 album), and ELOISE (67A: Plaza Hotel girl). And finally, in this category, ROLEO (38D: Loggers' contest). What the…?

But really, hard ones aren't bad ones, and even if we did count them in the debit column, the assets would still win out. It started off strong in the NW, where I found the clueing quite enjoyable. 14A: Complaint (BEEF), 20A: Fix (RIG), 24A: Dumb as a box of rocks (DENSE), for example. And there's nothing wrong with 1D: Car in the Beach Boys' "Fun, Fun, Fun" (TBIRD) either, or 3D: Hold the scepter (REIGN). In other areas, the nines in the SW and NE were all lovely, and really, good stuff was everywhere. SHEET (27D: Word before cake or music), POGO (42D: Okefenokee possum) (Dad would have enjoyed this one, were he to do the Times puzzle), NOHELP (30D: Totally useless). It just goes on and on.

Overall, a good Wednesday.

- Horace


  1. 7:53. It's funny, I didn't love the puzzle while I was doing it, especially the middle section which was the last to fall. But reviewing it now, I'm enjoying it more and more. The NE section with TENNESSEE and SWEETTALK is great (all those doubled letters), and any puzzle with CAMBRIDGE (perhaps even more so that the clue refers to the one in England) is in good shape in my book. I don't love the embedded flowers, but at least each one is hidden in a word so that they don't stand alone. The bees, though: that's pretty darn cool.

    ELOISE was a gimme for me, as Hope is "rawther" a huge fan. ECCE and HELOTS sort of went together. DEFOE was a good clue - I was thinking of Sgt. Friday rather than Crusoe's Friday. And yes, the TBIRD was excellent.

  2. I, too, was thinking of Sgt. Friday, and yeah, the middle was the last for me, too. I almost had to call in Frannie!

  3. 11:05
    Count me in as thinking of Sgt. Friday. I'm surprised that no one mentioned IRISHCOFFEE! Doesn't anyone occasionally indulge? I never like being reminded of YENTL, but I got it right away, and does everyone know that Sue and I recently tried to watch "I Dream of Jeannie" and gave up after just a few episodes because it was so terrible? Even so, I liked YESMASTER (26A Genie's reply). I thought it was a good puzzle, but then IMEASY (15A Words from the agreeable), which could have been good Huygens Fill had it been clued differently.

  4. I had Man Friday all the way, although I had a mental block on Defoe until I got a crossing F. And I entered ROSE in the circles, after IRIS and ASTER, without and crosses, although I was eyeballing CAMBRIDGE. But somehow the rest of the puzzle took 16 minutes.