Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014, Joe DiPietro


We enjoyed today's visual "rebus" theme of words passing through other strings of words to form phrases. As in GOING through THEMOTIONS (54A: (&30D) Making a feeble effort). Nice. I actually got the first one (the one in the upper left) first, but I didn't fully understand the theme, because I thought CUTS THECLUTTER (Has an ad that really stands out) made enough sense, even though I thought the clue didn't make much sense. Is that what they say about ads? I'm so out of the loop...

Another clue I didn't love was 37A: What Germany's leader lacks? (HARDG). I've been burned many times by similar clues, but this time I don't think this one is quite fair, because it doesn't so much lack it as much as it simply isn't it. And while I'm complaining, I've never seen RIBOSE (46A: Biochemical sugar) before, and "21A: Defeat" is a synonym for WORST? Not in my world. I suppose it's the opposite of "best," in that way, but I don't buy it. I've never heard anyone say it. I can't believe anyone ever would say it. And what the hell is ESTERC (61A: Brand name in immunity boosting)? And PLU (47A: Like arts and crafts: Abbr.)? Huh?

On the other hand, we liked seeing ODETOJOY (17A: Highlight of Beethoven's Ninth) in there. OBLIGE (8A: Make indebted), EXPELS (19A: Throws out), and ZENITH (64A: Top) are all good words, and I loved IQTEST (33A: Measure of brightness), mostly because it took me so long to get it. Hah! 4D: They're on the record (GROOVES) was cute, and I liked the pair of "It's blue" clues leading to SMUT and SKY.

22D: Like notepaper and kingdoms (RULED) was lovely, and speaking of rulers, I especially liked THEBES (18D: Ancient site of the Luxor Temple), because I am writing a paper on Oedipus Tyrannus, who was, of course, made king of Thebes after he correctly answered the riddle of the Sphinx, thus ending the plague that the city was enduring. And then there was some other stuff about his family history, but that's not important...

DINGBAT (43D: Ditz) and RAPPORT (41D: Bond) are nice too. And I liked GAMY (56D: Like wild boar), even though all the cinghiale I ate in Tuscany never tasted gamy.

Soooo.... I can't decide. I guess it was a decent enough Thursday.

- Horace


  1. 27:19
    PLU is short for "plurals," which is not that great, and ESTERC (Ester-C) is something you'd probably know if you watched ads three or four years ago; I've not seen one lately for that. Having recently been in Asia, I liked HOTPOT, having enjoyed one in a Buddhist temple in Kyoto. I also enjoyed SMUT and even RIBOSE. I liked having both PENS (34A Digs for pigs) and STY (23A Cleanup target) in the puzzle, which was tricky since I'd entered styS in there where PENS belonged at first. I agree on WORST: no one says that, nor will they ever. I like these visual rebus themes, and I, too, didn't get it right away. Favorite: DINGBAT (43D Ditz).

  2. I did the syndicated puzzle today for the first time in a while. Around 23 minutes (wall clock timed and casually over lunch). I thought it was cooll that HOTPOT was in there after we just saw a photo of one on flickr. Horace, I had most of the exact thoughts that you put in your first two paragraphs (except ESTERC because I've heard so many commercials for it over the years). PLU is very rare as an abbreviation for "plural," isn't it? HARDG clue is more weird than wrong to me. WORST is definitely the worst of the bunch. It says something that none of us have heard it; that's a lot of fairly observant combined years of living. I too (three?) love DINGBAT, which of course recalls the somewhat annoying character of Edith Bunker. Theme was nice enough, if a tad pedestrian. Enjoyable solve, though. Thumbs up from me.