Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014, Timothy Polin


Wow! This is the hardest Tuesday I can remember. And sure, sixteen minutes does seem like such a tough puzzle, but things are all relative, right? But as you all know by now, I'm not complaining. I would favor puzzles of this difficulty being the new Monday baseline.

I finished at beginning, at the cross of ZOUNDS (1A: "Holy cow!") and ZEBU (1D: Holy cow). ZEBU. On a Tuesday. I had to look up this cow variety thought to be derived from the fabulously-named auroch. And it's interesting to have it right beside OXEN (2D: Wagon pullers), because Zebu are sometimes used in that same manner.

For some reason, my mind had a lot of difficulty moving from the exclamation to the defined word. BLAST (34A: "Fudge!"), for instance, took a while by itself (I much prefer BLAST as an exclamation to "Fudge!"), but for TREAT (35D: Fudge) I needed almost every cross! Same with BOWS (60D: Fiddlesticks) - it took me forever! Overall, though, I love the theme. I think it's clever and well-executed. And for that I'm willing to overlook ALGAL and ENOUNCE.

But honestly, I really liked a lot of the fill. HAL (29D: Drinking buddy for Falstaff) had a cute clue, DOHS (46A: Exclamations often made with head slaps) reminds one of the Simpsons, and it can also be seen as bonus "exclamation" material. Sort of. FEMBOT (56A: Seductive "Austin Powers" android) was nice (Whatever happened to Mike Myers?), and EMBITTER (39D: Alienate) is a good word.

Overall, thumbs up!

- Horace


  1. 9:15. For me, a major mixed bag. I don't know about starting with ZEBU in 1D. To require the cross on every letter is a tough start to a Tuesday. Then you have the ugly, namely, as you said, ENOUNCE and ALGAL, but also AYR, LEN, REM, ECU, SST, ABRAM. And I don't like the unnecessary pluralized DOHS. On the plus side, you have FRACTALS, EMBITTER, HETERO (clued so "straight"-forwardly), and of course, the excellent Mikado reference, TOMTIT. I didn't love the theme, but it's fine enough. Really, this was a Wednesday puzzle a day early. I wonder what tomorrow might bring? DAMN!

  2. 30:05
    VERY tough Tuesday. I thought that Horace especially would mention 23A Small songbird (TOMTIT): 1) Tom, 2) Huygens material, 3) as Colum mentions, "Mikado." I liked 64A Straight (HETERO): bold and unexpected. One of these days I'll remember that Garfield's middle name was ABRAM, but for this puzzle I needed all of the crosses. Sue and I just looked over some tissue from the President's back as well as a portion of Guiteau's brain, both of which are on display at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. It turns out that with proper treatment, Garfield would have lived, but of course that could probably be said about many.