Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tuesday, October 7, 2014, Matt Skoczen and Victor Fleming


It is perhaps appropriate that I should have completed this at around midnight last night after a few drinks, no? It's a grid full of one "Oktoberfest exclamation," or TOAST after another, like SALUD, LCHAIM and CHEERS. Nice enough.

The rafts of small stuff bothered me a little more today than they did yesterday: UNE, DER, AAR, NCO, LAS, TEL, INA, NIA, STA, etc. On the other hand, the longer stuff was decent - GROWTHS (3D: Warts and such) (nice enough fill, gross clue), PELLETS (48D: Some rabbit food), ASPHALT (46D: Paver's supply), SAUCY (9D: Impertinent) (ok, not that long, but I liked it), and STANDOUTS (35D: All-stars) were all nice enough.

I kind of like how KEYEDUP (24A: Amped) is symmetrical with GOESMAD (50A: Loses one's grip?), but maybe that's reaching a bit for something to say. So instead of trying to reconstruct my mindset while doing this, I'll go further back to a class I was in last night where the word "monger" came up, as in "war monger." Now, I usually say this (and hear it) with a hard G sound, but the person talking used a soft G, as the second one in "ginger." He claimed he did not know of a rule in English which determined which was right. Frannie and I later talked it over, of course, and came up with other words where an O precedes the NG, like "longer" and "stronger," where the G is definitely hard. We haven't yet done any research into it to see if there actually is a published "rule," but 15-Across today, "Fisher with a pot" (EELER), made me think of it again, because that obviously conjures up the word "conger" (see what I did there?), and honestly, I don't know if that has the hard G or not. Anyone? Little help?

- Horace


  1. 9:46
    I've always pronounced "conger" with a hard g. Of course, I've had very little call so far in life to say "conger" in any circumstance; usually I just say "eel." I suppose that someone that is an eeler is also a congerer, which would sound like a magician if said with a soft g, as in, for example, "magician." Anyway, Sue would have liked 22D ____ cozy (TEA). I thought that the theme was great, and especially enjoyed DOWNTHEHATCH. Also, it was nice to see the oft-mentioned 27D Many a "?" clue in a crossword (PUN), and 36D Sot (LUSH) was great. I also starred SAUCY, for obvious reasons. Well, BOTTOMSUP!

  2. 5:12. The theme is great, with 7 theme answers, all symmetrically arrayed. That being said, I agree with Horace that the fill was not anything to write home about, although I got off on the wrong foot being unable to think of Tony RANDALL (all I could think of was Jack Lemmon, who, it should be remembered, shared 11 movies with the Matthau). There are 26 3-letter answers in this one, with the instantly forgettable AAR, REO, SAC, as well as the unforgivable UNE next to DER. Two articles? Blah. And I don't even like the long answers, except for BOOSTERS, which is old-timey.

    There is no doubt in my mind that monger, conger, longer, stronger all should be pronounced with a hard 'g'. What about that individual that hits a gong, a gonger? Wouldn't that g be somehow ellided (as in "gang-banger)? However, I can't imagine any instance where the g would be soft.

  3. 8:34
    I like the symmetric placement of IACOCCA and ERITREA, both interesting, longer (hard "g") names with more vowels than consonants.