Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014, Tom McCoy


Pretty nice theme of letters formed by answers that rely on a certain color, and which can be clued as actual things, like "black eye," "green tea," and so forth. And on top of that, the revealers are all symmetrical. It's a simpler (I imagine) horizontal symmetry, but still, not bad at all.

My favorite part of this thing might be the ridiculous, made-up word MILLIHELEN (34A: Facetious unit defined as the amount of beauty necessary to launch one ship). I've never heard it before, and I thought that Mr. McCoy had brazenly created this word to make the grid work, but it actually has a history. Fantastic. ELEVENTY (48D: 110, to Bilbo Baggins) isn't bad, but it's not nearly as nice as "MILLIHELEN."

In addition, there are many nice bits of long-ish fill. HARMONICA (94A: Relative of a panpipe), MISNOMER (40D: "Koala bear," e.g.), ACETATE (42A: Sodium ____ (potato chip flavoring)), PROMINENT (50A: Leading), ALLEARS (73D: Rapt), and, of course, NEGLIGEE (47D: Honeymoon attire).

Best part of it all - 43D: Who said "I can't prove it, but I can say it" (COLBERT). Brilliant.

An enjoyable Sunday.

- Horace


  1. 40:26
    Excellent review. We also liked the MILLIHELEN. I figured from the clue that HELEN was going to be there somehow, but that's a great clue. I also agree that the fill you cite is very good. I'll add a shout out for KNINE. WAHINE I know from the Beach Boys, of course. I thought the cluing was, in general, a nice balance of some clever and some hard. And we liked the theme, although we were almost done when we figured it out. The exception was the SW corner, which became a gimmy once we figured the theme.

  2. Now this is what I call an excellent Sunday puzzle. The theme was great: I had put a question mark next to "Lily-livered sorts" because BELLIES seemed somehow incomplete - obviously the question mark was erased soon enough. Clues I liked: 78A: Hardware-store or nursery purchase (BULB), 12D: Peak performance? (YODEL), the aforementioned ELEVENTY, 79D: Went down a slippery slope (SKIED), and 108D: Long ride (LIMO). The paired clues about prey and long, narrow fishes were fun also.

    MILLIHELEN was unexpected, although inferable directly from the overly long clue (did we really need the adjective "facetious" in front?). Wikipedia suggests that Isaac Asimov coined it. I really enjoyed this Sunday which puts it miles ahead of previous weeks.