Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014, Tracy Gray

FWOE (0:29:08)

Geez, the second DNF in as many days for us. Today it was the TEASELS/SAHEL crossing. I've seen TEASELS (22A: Prickly plants) many times, as it turns out, but I never knew their name. And I was completely unfamiliar with SAHEL (23D: Semiarid region of Africa). Tough crossing in an otherwise moderately challenging, but doable grid.

We've seen themes similar to this, I'm pretty sure, where the physical location is used as a rebus to make compound answers. As in SEAS (17A: Literally, with 20-Across, ski resort purchases) sitting on PASSES (20A) to make "season passes." Cute. HARRIS on FORD was the last one we got today.

Some unpleasantness, with AAHEDAT (30A: Reacted to, as fireworks), MAESTRI (52A: Toscanini and Maazel), and the double Latin crossing of ALII and OLEA in the NW. But then there were plenty of bright spots, too. I enjoyed the other plant clue 43A: Common daisy (OXEYE), and SMACKER (47A: Buck) and SCARFED (44D: Gobbled (down)) was a great crossing of slang. BELTWAY (45A: Baltimore's I-165, e.g.) was good, KISSCAM (4D: Between-innings feature on a Jumbotron) was fun (Frannie got this one!), RUTABAGA (9D: Vegetable whose name comes from the Swedish) was great, and I'm a big fan of the HAIKU (15A: Exercise in brevity).

Lastly, on a personal note, I just accepted a new DESK (68A: ____ job) today! I hope my new boss isn't too EXACTING (40D: Strict). Wish me luck!

- Horace


  1. 15:23
    Yes, and Annie got KISSCAM for us. CARS(on) CITY was our in to the rebus, given the finite number of state capitals from which to choose. We also did not like AAHEDAT, but what's wrong with MAESTRI? It's from the Italian. And as Latin goes, I always like seeing ALII written out as opposed to the single-character-saving, overly used, crosswordese, "et al," which I will concede I did enter at first.

    We, also, have never heard the name TEASELS, but we had RUTABAGA with nary a cross and OXEYE we knew as well.

    Good luck!

  2. 15:43. Took me longer than it should have because I had entered MOjAVE. So HARRIS took a while, especially as I misentered SCARFED as SCARkED. Anyhoo, found my way around those and finished. I like the theme, especially that each "on"-less word is a word in its own right. HAIKU returns for its second appearance in recent memory. I too had a hard time with the TEASELS/SAHEL cross, with the S being the last letter entered. It was at best a slightly educated guess, and I was happy when the cute music played. Did not like AAHEDAT. SMACKER was a surprise. NBCTV and BANDB are two unexpected abbreviations. I enjoyed it, I didn't love it.

  3. FWOE (23:27)
    Sheesh! I thought I'd nailed this one, but the TEASELS/SAHEL cross did me in, also. I entered a "B" in there, thinking that Tea Bels was a reasonable name for a flower or plant. Anyway, I learned that CORD{on} BLEU was an actual name of a chef. I liked the clue for ERR (21D Muff), though not for the reason you're all probably thinking; I merely thought that it was a great clue for an answer seen quite often in crossword puzzles. I originally put, wishfully, mOe in for 41A Hollywood's Howard (RON), but alas. Anyway, good puzzle.

  4. Yes, I think we might have tried B there too. And I don't think it actually is/was a specific chef, just one that belongs to that organization, or has that ranking, or whatever it is. I just means "blue ribbon." But I suppose people have had stranger names before...