Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015, Alan Arbesfeld

Twist Ending

This went smoothly and easily, solved with my mother on a Sunday morning in NYC. The theme is straightforward, and obvious from the title. My favorite from a absurdist point of view is ANNIEGETYOURGNU. And the clue is so tortured as well. The best in terms of degree of difficulty is ILLEGALALINE, in that it's a five-letter ending word instead of the 3- or 4-letter words in the other answers. RAISINGTHEBRA is sort of an anti-Huygens answer.

There wasn't much of anything that gave us pause for long. Some nice clues are present, however: 25A: Something hard to drink? (CIDER) is good, as is 79D: Canine cousin (MOLAR), another excellent example of avoiding an unnecessary question mark. Another example of that is 45D: Where many people may follow you (TWITTER)

I'm not sure that 47A: Asked to come back, in a way (ENCORED) is quite right. I presume the meaning is that of "After the performance, the audience encored the performer several times," but is that really anything anyone would say?

123A: One in a tight spot? (SARDINE) is cute, and 124A: Did some edgy writing? (DOODLED) is all right, but neither were particularly difficult or amusing. I like ICEPALACE and WENTSOLO, but PILLARED is meh.

71D: U.S. city whose name becomes another city's name if you change both its vowels to A's (TEMPE) gets the award for longest clue. At 85 characters, it's longer than its answer by a factor of 17. It's almost tweet-length!

So overall, not particularly challenging nor particularly entertaining.

- Colum


  1. 49:35
    This ran slightly harder, but not much, than the last few Sundays. There were a couple of good theme answers, I guess, but ICANNOTTELLALEI was not one of them. PILLARED was kind of generic for its reference to the Parthenon. I liked BELAY (42D Secure, as a sailor's rope), but would have rather seen a Star Trek TNG reference ("Belay that order!"). I enjoyed the fact that there were also downs for the themed answers, especially 70D Lovely but stupid person? (OBTUSEANGEL). Finally, I spent two weeks on FTDIX (15A N.J. Army base) and its sister base McGuire AFB; there was a nice NCO club there.

  2. ANNIEGETYOURGNU was the first theme answer I got, and I did chuckle at it, and a couple others, but it wasn't one for the ages. Frannie wondered about the etymology of BELAY and whether or not it is the same for both meanings. As far as I can tell, it is. And I agree about ENCORES. It's kind of like LAM (88A: Skip town) in my mind, as I don't think of either as verbs.

    I assume that's THEDA Bara?

    1. Yes, indeed, that is the silent film star of crossword puzzle fame.