Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015, Jason Flinn


Only three theme answers, but what a theme it was! A loop-de-loop that, at least from without, looks mighty impressive. Three things that either come in loops or make loops, written out in loops. P(APER)AIRPLANE (26A: Classroom projectile) is very nice, but it was R(OLLERC)OASTER (60A: Theme park part) that was the first one we got. At first I put in "coaster," but RCRUMB (50D: "Keep on Trucking" cartoonist) just had to be right, so things had to change. The last, SHOE(LACE) (62A: It may be on the tip of the tongue) isn't bad either. So - four stars on the theme.

So then, let's look at the fill... DAUB (1A: Put a coat on sloppily, say) is odd, but ok with us. Not because we like the clue (we don't), but because it reminds us of our (sort of) friend Dan, who we met in Tuscany when we were working on an Etruscan archaeological dig, and who was a specialist in wattle and daub construction. It's basically just like lath and plaster, but with sticks and mud. ASWAN (5A: City that supplied granite for Egyptian monuments), might have been ok with us if our dig had been in Egypt instead of in Italy, but it wasn't, and it isn't. And neither is AMARNA (2D: Archaeological site along the Nile).

I like the old-school 15A: Illegal motion penalty? (TILT) clue, and 17A: Former Washington heavyweight (TAFT) is nice, too. CRACKER seems a little too pedestrian for an 20: Hors d'oeuvre staple, but then, what do I know of high society? PIA (22A: ____ mater (brain part)), I have learned through crosswords and crosswords only, which is also true of SENNA (48A: Plant used in herbal remedies). See, blogging is good for you!

NAUSEATE (34A: Disgust) is awesome, and so is ATYPICAL (8D: Anomalous). And ABSCESS (36D: Certain infection) was too, even though it used "certain" in the clue and it's gross.

Overall, pretty nice.

- Horace


  1. 24:05. Took a long time to figure out the theme. I had SHOE in, but didn't see how the loop worked in until I had PAIRP___ to start 26A (Classroom projectile). Phoebe suggested PAPERAIRPLANE, and then we all saw it together. Very smart! Some great answers in the fill, including the ones you mentioned, but also ALIENATE, WREATHED, and CATALYTIC. Before I figured out the theme, I had dCcoMB at 50D. I'd never heard of such a cartoonist, but who knows? SUd seemed possible. And cOASTER answered 60A well enough. So what if ARGoS was clearly wrong? My eyes were opened, thankfully.

    I'll quibble with DOTCOM. It was not a "Kind of bubble." It was a "Certain bubble". Conversely, ABSCESS is a "Kind of infection," rather than a "Certain infection." And that, it seems to me, is that.

    Just watched Grand Budapest Hotel. Loved it.

  2. 25:55
    It seems all of our times are similar for this puzzle, which is odd. Also, we recently (two or three weeks ago) watched Grand Budapest Hotel, and also loved it. I agree about the excellent theme and great fill, including OCTAVO (52D Book size) and BREATHES (42A Gets inspiration?): fantastic. TAFT was a brilliant clue/answer. As one side note, I had NAUSEA__ for a very long time before I filled in the "TE" at the end, which broke the NE for me: DUH (33D "Ya think?!").