Thursday, December 25, 2014

Thursday, December 25, 2014, Xan Vongsathorn


I think I was confusing the cassava, which does, indeed, look kind of like a YAM, with a casaba melon, which looks more like a melon. Maybe a visual aid will help me to remember.

But really, I guess, I should have chosen a photo of some mixed nuts, since that's the theme. Frannie figured it out when SP[UTN]IK (26A: Startling newsmaker of 10/4/1957) crossed CH[UTN]EY (37A: Samosa topping) (mmmm.... samosa....) and the rebus was laid bare. It took her another couple, I think, before she figured out the "mixed nut" thing. 

Some favorites from the fill include: ORIGAMI (61A: Artwork from a folder), PE[TUN]IA (40A: Flowery girl's name), and it's always nice to be reminded of 46A: Joe Quimby on "The Simpsons," e.g. (MAYOR). 

Frannie found the near repetition of HAHAS (25D: Rib-ticklers) and HAR (55D: Laugh sound) a bit off-putting, and the same, sort of, with SUDS (23A: Brewskis) and ALE (67A: It may be blonde). Of course, the latter was mitigated by its proximity to another "blonde" clue - 40D: Blonde's secret (PEROXIDE), and there were some other nice pairings, like the TRIED / HEARD set (Presided over, as a case), and the PEN / LEG pair. 

Overall, a few EHS, so not a RAVE review, but the good features OU[TNU]MBER the bad, so we won't throw it into a OPENPIT. OK. I should stop now. Time to go back to looking at all the presents...

- Horace


  1. Untimed, completed with Cece, my mother, and my brother. So the rebus is exquisitely well done, with each possible combination of the three letters represented once, and the rebus squares symmetrically placed, as well as a fun revealer. It fell for us at WE[TNU]RSE, although for a few moments we couldn't tell which square the rebus was going to be in. My mother wanted to mention ZED as well clued, and I liked ORIGAMI and its pairing with OREGANO. Lots of fun from our point of view.

  2. 16:33
    G[UNT]OTING and TARA[NTU]LA were my favorite theme answers. I wanted DEVILfish (I know, wrong number of letters) and iceWATER for 4D and 34A respectively, but the ease of the crosses quickly led to the correct letters. Nothing took too long here; I even filled in YEGG (1D One doing safe work?) right away, which is something I'd not have known if not for frequent crossword solves. ENGENDER (42A Give rise to) went in without crosses, and the excellent GOVIRAL (43D Really take off, in a way) went in with only one. Of course, people of Cece's age probably get that sort of thing right away, too. The clue that took the longest for me was 27A Break down in tears? (RIPUP). I'm quite happy that the theme wasn't overtly Christmas-y; that would have wrecked it.