Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February 18, 2015, Ed Sessa


As is often the case with early-week puzzles, I didn't know what the theme was while I was solving, but now that I understand it, I like it. It's absurd and goofy, and, well, that's often enough for me. QUESTIONTHEDUCK (36A: Try to find out what's what at a pond?) made me laugh. Not "out loud," but still, I think I might have exhaled slightly harder through my nose. Does that count as "out loud?" I guess it was audible, within a certain radius...

In non-theme fill, I started entering "U.S.S.R." for 1A: Letters on Soyuz rockets (CCCP), but caught myself before I had even finished, and put in the correct answer. After that, almost everything went right in until I got a little more than halfway down. TEFLON (44A: Polytetrafluoroethylene, commercially) took a few crosses, and the same is true for ALTER (48D: Take up or let out).

Favorite clue, and best of the week, so far - 35D: It's all around you (SKIN). Eeewwwww! So gross, but so good. Also, speaking of the body, I thought it was a good clue for ULNA today (14A: Fifth-longest bone in the human body). 15A: One navigating the web? (SPIDER) was cute.

You might be interested to hear that I looked up "swab" as used in DECKTHESWAB (56A: Kayo Popeye?). It is slang for sailor, of course, and it's not far from "synecdoche." Heh. I've heard "swabbie" more often, but my "work" dictionary (a gift from Frannie when I got my new job!) says that "swabbie" can be used for anyone enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and that "swab" is specifically for a sailor. I don't know about that, but I guess I'll have to take Webster's word for it. And I suppose "Kiltie" can be used for any Scot? (2D: Kiltie's group (CLAN)). Webster does not agree. The only definitions they give are "n. 1. A flap of fringed and, sometimes, perforated leather extending from and folding back over the top end of the vamp of a shoe 2. A shoe with such a flap." I'll have to try that when we go to Scotland in a few months. "Hey Kiltie, got any scotch for me?"

Not perfect (STANDEE is poor), but fun enough.

- Horace


  1. 13:07. Cece took first crack at the puzzle on this, her 13th birthday, and handed it over to me after about 6 minutes with a few entries put in. Funnily enough, she had entered STANDEE. She also got DEFROSTS, ECHO, DES, ZEE. She also suggested ULNA but did not have the courage of her convictions to put it in. She wanted "Ooh la la" for ETVOILA, and I think she gets partial credit for that.

    I like the theme a great deal. Like you, Horace, I didn't get the theme until I had four of the five entered. Somehow, DECKTHESWAB was enough. I like BOOKSTHECOOK for the cleverness of switching a plural noun for a third person singular verb. Some might nitpick that the other four did not do that, but I don't care.

  2. 11:05
    I liked SPOOK (13D Bogeyman) as well as being reminded of ENCARTA which I used only rarely. I remember that it took up quite a bit of room on the old 8086s and 8088s; not really worth it. But it didn't interfere too much with speed since the dial-up wasn't too fast regardless. I thought that STANDEE was terrible, but always enjoy one of its crosses: ALICE. Good theme and fun puzzle. I don't like them when they're too difficult or time-consuming.