Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wednesday, January 7, 2015, Greg Johnson


I'm putting this time in because I finished the puzzle then. For some reason it took about another minute for the Congratulations! to show up, even though I changed nothing.

I don't love the theme here. I like that THESEUS and ARIADNE mirror each other. I don't like that Theseus' clue is treated like it's not thematic (13A: Maze runner?), and really there's no way to that figure out until you've moved through the puzzle, and found the other clues that refer to it. After all, the answer itself is no longer or shorter than the answer below it.

Then you have circled letters. I suppose if MINOTAUR had more unusual letters in it, it would be some kind of feat to scatter the letters through the puzzle. As it is, they're just random circled letters. And it's bothersome that KINGMINOS and his half-bestial stepson share etymologic underpinnings.

Finally, if the grid is supposed to represent a LABYRINTH, shouldn't there be some path in to the center where the Minotaur is hiding out? Otherwise it's just a cage. At least the home of the beast's lair made it into the grid as well (30D: CRETE).

Unfortunately, the fill didn't much make up for the theme either. Once again we have both NSA and NSC in the same puzzle. As if that weren't enough, we get the following alphabet soup: PDA (dated), AARP (aged), RRR (makes you want to growl), ATH (huh?), TDS (timely), MRI (more of a favorite in my life), SCI, REO, STP. I think I ran out of clever things to say.

In the category of more huh? 21A: Late TV newsman Garrick (UTLEY), 29D: Earthquake (SEISM), and 18A: Pink-colored, to Pedro (ROSA). Shouldn't that just be "Pink?"

All right. Not much to love here. Anybody disagree?

- Colum


  1. Well, I actually liked the classical theme, but I can't really argue with your criticisms, especially the cage thing - although making the grid into a real labyrinth would be pretty much impossible. And, yeah, lots of crud in the fill. But come on, all those old names! That counts for something anyway.

  2. 13:51
    I didn't mind this too much, except for the "M" in the middle, or would the puzzle have accepted the whole name in there? ATH = ATHletics. What, Colum doesn't have a PDA? How does he keep track of appointments? Not that I enjoy the game, but along with the aforementioned TDS, there was PUNT (57D Give up, at least for now). I'd have thought that Garrick UTLEY was pretty well-known. Anyway, the puzzle seemed just about the right level of difficulty for a Wednesday, despite the junk fill.