Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014, Michael S. Maurer


Frannie here. I went it alone this morning, as you may have already guessed by the number above. Horace had "other things to do" apparently. It took me quite a while to get the key theme answer because I have not historically classified WARGAMES as a sci-fi drama. That was my first mistake. My last mistake was entering IOWAN instead of IOWAS. The singularity of the clue (53D. Midwest tribe) threw me off. I supposed I should have spent a little more time wondering what A, B and C NTS were in D.C., but truth is, I didn't. The other source of trouble for me was BIREME (43D. Old galley) crossed with 42A. Org. originating the three-point shot (ABA). I wanted the letter B in that cross, but I was not familiar old warships with two decks of oars. After the fact, when you think about "bi" and "reme" it makes perfect sense, but I find that is often the case after the fact.

Puzzle carping does not well suit this season of Thanksgiving, so I turn now to clues and answers I enjoyed in today's grid. I thought the theme answers were quite entertaining. Getting to common military phrases through clever alternate clues was fun. I think my favorite was 34A. Inoculation order? (PRESENTARMS). I thought it was a nice touch that most of the theme clues also had a sort of militaryishness about them, although since they didn't all have it, perhaps I am giving credit where credit isn't due. We have the famed potato of KP duty in 17A, the literal word "order" in 34A, and the command-like nature of 49A. I am unable, however, to identify anything even remotely military about 24A. Ebb tide? Drop and give me twenty, Mr. Maurer!

I thought the fill was relatively clean, given the high number of three-letter pit fall possibilities. One that still confounds me is 48A. LAD mag (Maxim or FHM). Is LAD an acronym? Is that really a name for a type of magazine? Huygens, can you shed any light on this one?

Also in the fun bag were BANISH (5D. Exile), SLITHY (6D. Like the toves in "Jabberwocky"), and SLOG (35D. Tough trek). I surprised myself by getting TRADE (10D. Major League Baseball news) right off the bat, so to speak. FRUIT (30D. Most of the symbols on a traditional slot machine) was also easy as pie. SPITBALL (1D. Wet missile) was less appealing. But, being the 40D. Cool CAT that I am, I'll Give it AREST (20D).



  1. 23:37
    Sadly, I admit that I cannot shed much light on the LAD thing; "LADy," perhaps? I'd rather have seen a clue referencing Art CARNEY instead of Jay at 16A. The SHORELEAVE clue doesn't make too much sense, after all, isn't the shore getting larger during the ebb period? Or is it that the water is LEAV[E]ing the SHORE? Happily I never saw the "Bewitched" spinoff TABITHA, and won't. LEM (29A Sci-fi author Stanislaw) is unknown to me, but I like that his name is the same as the Lunar Excursion Module initials. Maybe I'll get one of his books. WARGAMES, which I saw a number of times, is, of course, a sci-fi drama...I mean, c'mon! Well, other than the Maxim and FHM reference for the cryptic LAD answer, there wasn't much Huygens material today.

  2. 10:00. LAD refers in the British sense to slightly naughty content. I didn't really love this puzzle. Felt old-fashioned. I liked PRESENTARMS by far and away the best of the four theme answers. MASHUNIT comes in second. SPITBALL and that area held me up. 15D: Pal (BUB) isn't right somehow. SLITHY is great, ALTHO is very poor. And then we have TETRAS, OSIER, ELI crossing ELIA, and the aforementioned IOWAS. I guess LAVALIERES and STEPINSIDE are all right. Overall a middling to poor Wednesday.

  3. I agree that the dial-up modem, supercomputer, remote control pterodactyl, war room, and primitive video games in War Games would hardly qualify as sci-fi, even in 1983.