Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014, Jacob Stulberg


THERESNOTWO/WAYSABOUTIT (18A: With 64-Across, words of certainty … or a hint to 23-, 40-, and 56-Across) is an interesting little theme. "NO" and "ON" bracket the three theme answers. Or do we say that there are really five theme answers, since 18- and 64-Across function as revealers? Either way, it's fine for a Wednesday, am I right? A little odd, maybe, but this is exactly where such puzzles belong!

I remember enjoying this one as I went along. RAW (1A: Like a new recruit) didn't come immediately (I tried "p.f.c."), but HOIST (4A: Raise, as Old Glory) did OCCUR (15A: Come to mind) without much trouble, and we were off and running! Don't you always wish, like I do, that the Omega were the 2D: Last Oldsmobile (ALERO)? I mean, it was an Oldsmobile model… it just would have been so perfect! Instead we get ALERO. Meh. And WAXER (3D: Car wash machine)? The "machine," as far I as I could tell back when I bothered to wash my car (Pro tip: It's not necessary! Never do it!), was a spray nozzle, nothing more.

Did you, like me, put FIFE (50A: Instrument in the painting "The Spirit of '76) right away, even though "drum" would also have fit? The thing is - who would clue "drum" like that? No one! Come to think of it, "flag" also fits, and you could be a real jerk about it with the clue "Item held in …" Luckily, this is only Wednesday, and Mr. Stulberg is a decent kind of a fellow.

As I look through this more, I find more to question. OCH (5D: Gaelic "Gee!") is iffy, for example, as is SURER (7D: Not so iffy). Heh. And sure, a SITAR may be an "11D: Instrument with sympathetic strings," but isn't any stringed instrument, really? A piano, for example? Or a harp? Maybe they're not designed that way, but they still are that way.

Meh… it was fine for a Wednesday.

- Horace


  1. 5:59. It went swimmingly: RAW and RAMEN entered immediately. I like the two long non-theme answers as well: EMIGRANT and OKLAHOMA, clued through two pieces of American history. On the downside, the items you mention (SURER, ugh; WAXER, whatever; ALERO, blah), and added to them, UKASE, that hoary bit of crosswordese. Also OATER. I have no problem with SITAR, whose very essence of its timbre is dictated by those sympathetic strings. In a piano, the non-played keys are dampened. Other stringed instruments could potentially have sympathetic sounds, but they don't sound much, as far as I can tell. Anyhoo...

    The theme is great. I'll give the puzzle a thumbs up for that.

  2. True enough about the dampening. That whole rant was not well thought out, and probably not worth putting into print. Ah, well … what do we live for, eh Colum, but to make sport for our critics, and to laugh at them in our turn?

  3. 19:18
    This one was nothing too special. The last to go in for me was the UKASE/OKLAHOMA cross. I'd had neWEL in there at first instead of DOWEL, which didn't fit with the clue, of course. FIFE went right in for me, too, as did SITAR, though I agree to a point with Horace on his original rant, especially the piano, which has multiple strings for each note in order to create a nice, warm sound. Other major stringed instruments, not so much. I always like thinking of LARA Croft (27A _____ Croft (Angelina Jolie role)), but other than that, and KOMODO, I guess, this is an average Wednesday.