Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014, Jacob McDermott


Boy, the SE quadrant took me several minutes at the end of this. I did not know KIGALI (50D: Capital of Rwanda), CLAMUP (49D: Stop talking) took some crosses, and the excellent SPANKS (51D: Hits bottom) was not immediately obvious. SOCKS (48A: Low pair?), too, was very tricky! Also, "Louvre" fit into the six boxes clued by 47D: Parisian palace (ELYSEE), so that didn't help… but in the end, it all got filled in, and as I've said many times, I appreciate any extra challenge early in the week, so it's all good.

Not so good, for me anyway, was the theme. POWERCOUPLE (36A: BeyoncĂ© and Jay Z, e.g. … or a hint to 17-, 30-, 44-, and 61-Across)? SUPERSTAR (17A: Luminary among luminaries) is a "power couple?" I guess maybe it's because the two parts of that compound word, when "coupled" become "powerful?" Is a SUPERSTAR powerful? Is a HIGHHORSE (44A: Snooty attitude) (nice!)? No… wait… it's another one of those "both parts can be paired with "power" themes. Sorry for the false alarm. "Superpower," "star power," "high power," "horsepower," … Much better.

After a terrible start (ANAL (1A: ____-retentive) (enough already!), there is lots of good fill today: NAUSEA (2D: Feeling after a roller coaster ride), SCRAPS (9D: Leftovers), NOUGAT (10D: Candy bar filling) (gross!), CAPABLE (25A: Competent) (bonus theme material?), PISTOL (38D: Energetic sort), HECKLE (45D: Shout "Ref, are you blind?!," e.g.), KOOKS (58A: Wackos), and more. That's all good, and the theme (now that I get it) is fine, and the elements of the theme are all pretty good. Let's call it good.

- Horace


  1. 8:29. Definitely skewed hard for a Tuesday! I too frowned at 1A, especially when paired with 2D. I found the NE incredibly thorny. Maybe it's because RUTTY isn't actually a word. A lot of extra black squares in the middle three rows. The SE was hit or miss. I love SPANKS and SOCKS; EPIS is annoying. WNET is iffy. ELYSEE next to EPCOT is amusing.

    Well, LETSLIP the dogs of war, I say. I'm fine with it.

  2. 11:58
    I thought that 1A was a great start, and I was off and running. I loved the theme, and, in fact, starred the revealer to remind myself of that fact. SOCKS was great as well as SPANKS (both also starred). IDYLL (63A Pastoral composition) is fantastic, as was 9A Sarcasm (SNARK). Didn't like: RUTTY (19A Like many rural roads). I also didn't know KIGALI, but it didn't slow me down due to the nice crosses.