Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tuesday, January 6, 2015, Joel Fagliano


DNA runs through this puzzle like sands through an hourglass. There's a pretty nifty representation of a double helix using the black squares, and each long down answer has the genetic letters split in the same way across two words. I like TOOTHANDNAIL the best of them, with the clue for BRANDNAMES (29D: Wilson and Hoover, but not Eisenhower) making it a close second. OLDNAVY has appeared a number of times in the puzzle (with much the same clue), while ISLANDNATION feels arbitrary and GOODNATURE bland.

For all of those long theme answers, it's a very smooth grid. There are a ton of Os in the top and bottom third and weirdly only one in the middle third. All those Os really draw the eye: OOO crossing GOODNATURE, LOON crossing IDOTOO, BOOP near TOOTHANDNAIL. We also had the strange family connection of EVE, ADAM, and ENOS.

Huygens may enjoy the presence of NUDE (41A: Beige shade, right next to the aforementioned first couple, whose lack of clothes were revealed to them) and TITS (3D: Small songbirds). Me, I liked 8D: Speak Persian? (MEOW) and the hidden capital in 13D: Hall of fame (MONTY).  A reminder of Jodie Foster as CLARICE Starling is welcome too.

Oh, hey! I didn't even see the revealer until I went through each clue. I'd answered that small section entirely with acrosses. I kind of like it better without the revealer.

Thumbs up, on the whole.

- Colum


  1. 10:24
    Wow...congratulations on the sub-5. Yes, I did enjoy both NUDE and TITS, as well as the twin "Somewhat" clues at 36A and 27D (ATAD and ABIT). Also, the Voltaire quote ("The best is the ENEMY of the good") was excellent; I'll have to remember that one. Usually we see Estee LAUDER reversed. In addition to the answers called out by Colum, I also enjoyed 31D's POTLEAF (although I, personally, don't partake), and 49D It has axes (GRAPH), which took me awhile because I was thinking of chopping down trees, not plotting.

  2. I also thought the hidden plural in "axes" was fabulous. How could you not be thinking of hewing trees. The PH crosses gave it away for me, but it's great stuff, particularly for a Tuesday. Also, no mention of the MONTY-MINTY pair. Admittedly, the clue for MINTY (40A: Like many mouthwashes) wasn't as good as the aforementioned Hall of fame, but an unusual pair nonetheless.

  3. A city planner in Boston during the nineties used to use a variant of the Voltaire quote - "the perfect is the enemy of the possible." The Hall of fame clue is worthy of the clue hall of fame, and the Downton clue for that stallwart standby ETON was nice and timely. I, too, congratulate you on the scorching time (we were about 7:20), and I concur with the general feeling of goodwill toward the puzzle.