Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015, Bruce Haight


WHOLETTHEDOGSOUT indeed? A dog in the center of the grid, and several dog-breed related answers, all clued as something other than a dog. Cute, I guess. My favorite is HUSKY (*66A: Like Lauren Bacall's voice) because, Lauren Bacall.

This might be the first puzzle that I can remember that has no symmetry whatsoever. It's sort of symmetrical at the top, but the bottom is not, and the sides sort of look it at first, but really are not. I don't mind, though. I mean, who ever said that all crosswords had to be symmetrical? If you're going to concede on the symmetry, however, you might want to have better fill than HMO, OONA, ACE, YAO, OAT, XRAY, RCA and RHO. And that's just two consecutive rows. After the thematic 15 we find ORA and ISEULT. Yuck.

I'm not much of a dog lover, preferring their natural enemy the CAT, so the cockles of my heart were not warmed by the breeds or the central image. AMPM, NCOS, ATALL, UKES, IDUNNO, ENNE,  TYR, AMAH, MSU, CRAT, EWER

Roll over. Play dead. Good dog.

- Horace


  1. 6:55. Even those of us who are rather fond of the canine breed will admit that this puzzle skewed way too far towards the theme end of the theme-fill fulcrum. There is an impressive amount of theme, with a dog breed in every section (except the mid-west section, strangely), but how much junk we have to put up with! I won't belabor it, as you've listed much of what I didn't like. I did like 4D: One working on a canvas? (BOXER) - that's a nice piece of misdirection, which I would have liked better without the question mark.


  2. I think you just have to enjoy the absurdity of is puzzle and smile; like a Christmas day puzzle overly filled with Santa and elves, or a Presidents Day puzzle filled with Presidents (you liked that one!). Today was the closing day of the world famous (and even bigger deal in metro NYC) Westminster Dog Show. And so the over-the-top theme. Indeed, Westminster is about as over the top as society can get, so the puzzle hits the mark perfectly and should get a pass on all the forced fill.

    Spoiler alert!
    A Beagle won again this year and for the second time in 7 years after the breed never won in the previous 132 years. If you've never seen the fabulous Christopher Guest movie from 2000 "Best in Show," it's hilarious. And what did Oscar Wilde say about life and art?

  3. 9:15
    Fred Willard, of course, steals the show; it's a shame that his name couldn't have been worked into the fill somehow. I wasn't familiar with the ISEAULT spelling of, I assume, Isolde, with which I am familiar. Other than that, a fine puzzle given that the theme material had to be worked in there. Maybe, however, TANNERIES was not exactly called for.