Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Wednesday, February 4, 2015, Julian Lim


That's right, DNF. I was stumped by 14A: Green card issuer, informally (AMEX), and I somehow convinced myself that "EnCITES" was equivalent to "inCITES," neither of which was as good as EXCITES (4D: Fires up). Sure, it's only one error, and I could have called "FWOE," but I could not figure it out before going to work, and I looked at the Crossword Fiend to see what the hell was wrong. It's a fine line, I guess, but I feel I can only call FWOE when I can quickly look at the grid and see what was wrong - and usually it's a typo. If I have to look it up, it's a DNF.

So now that we have that out of the way, I can say that it's another one of those "Wacky clues for normal things" kind of theme, and you might remember that it is a type of theme that I usually enjoy. Some of these, however, seem a little more tortured than usual. 17A: Eye an election official? (CHECKOUTCOUNTER) is a bit of a stretch. "Counter?" And 48A: Warning shouted to a lacrosse defenseman? (LOOKOUTPOINT). Yikes. TAKEOUTORDER and WORKOUTROUTINES are both solid, though. Also, all the theme answers hinge on the word "OUT," with the last answer having a bonus second occurrence of the letters. Overall, the theme gets a half-hearted thumbs up.

The fill, on the other hand, has a lot of meh. ONEA, ALII, DIY, TAS... and then there are the gratuitous plurals IOTAS, EWERS, MARKS, STYES. I don't put REARS (22A: They may be paddled) into that lot because of its fine, Huygensy clue.

The sevens are mostly good, though, with FLUNKED (43D: Didn't make the grade?), HOTPINK (47D: Popular color at Victoria's Secret), FINEART (10D: Pricey pieces), and - now that I know it - EXCITES being my favorite. The inner sevens are ok, but not great.

I don't really even mind FIEF (10A: Overlord's domain) and LIEF (42A: Happily, old-style), but I might not get too many supporters there. And isn't it odd how LIE sits just above LIEF? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Oh, I don't know... I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. Let's call it a typical Wednesday wash.

- Horace

1 comment:

  1. 17:46. That's a Friday time for a Wednesday. I'm not sure why it played so tough for me. There were an awful lot of ? clues, and a fair number of "" clues. TAKEOUTORDER is by far the best of the four theme answers. I think the other four are fair to outright poor. LIE above LIEF is weird but acceptable as they are not cognate. TYPEB was a tough one to figure out. I too had put inCITES in, but thankfully had Cece at my side, because she suggested EXCITES when I got the "one or more spaces incorrect" message.

    You didn't mention that REARS crossed URGE. That was nice. I'm not sure what to make of the two clues "Letters on some kits". I agree with a DIY kit, I suppose, but a CPR kit doesn't sound quite right.

    Not a favorite for me, or for Cece.