Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015, Michael Shteyman


The theme of Midwestern state capitals was fun, but very easy. I think I got LANSINGMICHIGAN (Midwest capital #1) off just a few letters, and neither of the other three took much more than that. So right away you've got those letters. I know it's only Wednesday, but it just played really easy. And this from someone who solved the puzzle at about 5:30am Boston time, after a six-hour flight, a 45-minute bus ride, and a twenty-minute walk to the hotel. But enough about me, let's talk more about the puzzle.

There are a lot of little three-letter answers in the NW, but I enjoyed ROLLEDR (1A: Part of "rico" or "roja"), and it is weird, as they say, that the praying mantis is ONEEARED. Over in the NE we have the less-desirable AMEBAE (8A: Lives in a cell?). I don't particularly like the answer or the clue. BONERS, meh. ARENA & ESSEN, common crossword entries. But MONTHS (9D: Their days are numbered) is clued well.

All over we have a mix of good and bad. I think of ADDIN (23D: Computer extra) as more of an "ice cream" extra, and IDEATE is nobody's favorite. Just across the grid, though, is my favorite section today. DARTS (33D: Game of motor precision that, strangely enough, is often played while inebriated) is great, and who doesn't love KAFKA (36D: "The Trial" author)? And almost in the same section was CLUBS (27D: Black suit), which I also enjoyed. It was one of those that I thought way too long about.

I like capitals, but it just doesn't feel like enough today. There's a a handful of interesting non-theme stuff, but also a lot of mediocre-to-blah fill. I'm giving it a "thumb slightly down" rating.

- Horace


  1. 9:21
    Yes, pretty straightforward. DE_________ was enough to get DESMOINESIOWA and only one or two crosses more was enough for each of the other three. I loved seeing the great Paavo NURMI in the grid (despite the slightly awkward NORSE cross, although granted, Norway isn't nearly the rival for Finns as Sweden).

    Seems to me we just had the ELSOL from the Argentinian flag a couple of weeks ago.

    Lastly, I enjoyed the clue for DARTS (33D: Game of motor precision that, strangely enough, is often played while inebriated). Yes, it's pretty straightforward, but still kind of funny, don't you think?

  2. 21:26
    Sheesh. For me, the capitals were easy, but the NW had me flummoxed for awhile. Oddly, I'd entered ROLLEDR right away, but then when I saw 4D Chair umpire's call (LET) I wanted so badly to put nET in there that I erased it. CANTLOSE took awhile, and ONEEARED was one of those things that needed most of the crosses. Even 5D Suffix with arbor (EAL) was tricky because I was thinking of the backyard type of arbor (it IS Wednesday). I thought that the clue for RESIGN (7D Terminate a contract...or extend it) was great, as well as that for DROWN (8D Be overwhelmed). Other than AMEBAE, which I too did not enjoy in any way, I thought this was a nicely placed puzzle in the week, difficulty-wise.

  3. 6:02. Too easy, certainly, IMO. I liked STORK crossing SKORT. WRISTPAD is just strange - I suppose they're referring to the thing you rest your hands on as you type. When I Google it, it comes up as wrist rest. Hmm. AAVERAGE is a nice counterpoint to ROLLEDR. Overall it's a peculiar sort of mix between very nice mid-length answers, 4 capitals, and way too many 3-letter answers.