Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thursday, March, 12, 2015, Ellen Leuschner and Jeff Chen


A nice upswing from the last two days today. I enjoyed this puzzle much more. It always helps to start off with knowing 1A right off the bat (1962 Kubrick film: LOLITA). I guessed 1D: Head incorrectly as Loo, and only figured out it was LAV towards the end. ONASLANT was correct, but even with these guesses in place, the NW resisted me. I got 33A: Inter ____ (European soccer powerhouse) (MILAN) next, and filled in a few 3-letter answers including AXE without understanding the theme.

I got ARACHNID, a lovely word in the grid, MAWS, then MGM, and GRIP and MALI. Finally, I understood what 9D: Metaphor for quick-spreading success (WILD[FIRE]) was asking for, and I was off and running. I didn't understand the theme, exactly, just that each of those black squares in the 2x2 square would be filled with an understood "fire". I had, in fact, noticed the odd looking congregation of black squares at the outset, and wondered if they would have something to do with the theme.

It made the remainder of the clues around those spots easy to fill in, which meant that the NE and the SW went quite quickly. I enjoyed the two longer themed answers  PLAYSWITH[FIRE], and [FIRE]INTHEHOLE, the latter being the revealer that makes the theme work. Very nice!

In addition, we get some nice entries in VASSAL (which I insisted on spelling "vassel" for a while, nearly leading to a FWOE, but I figured it out before putting in that final A), ARBORDAY, and POOLSIDE. AXON is very much in my line of workl, so I liked seeing that.

I very much enjoyed the clue at 57A: Goes on Safari, say (BROWSES), although I'm not sure the "say" is needed with the capitalized app name. 27A: Things with rings... that may be ringing (EARS) is pretty good. I like the pairing of 30A: Inter (ENTOMB) and 33A: Inter ____. I don't know that I agree with the joke in 60A: Double doubles? (HOMERS). I suppose it's true, but not exactly right somehow. Finally, I did enjoy 64A: One working for Kansas or Alabama (ROADIE). That's nice cluing right there.

No major downers, so I'm giving it a hearty thumbs up.

- Colum


  1. 19:51

    Man, I agree with this review 100%. Pretty much everything you said was something I had thought on the way through. The "Double doubles" thing, Safari, ROADIE... all of it. We parted ways at MILAN. I didn't know this, and that final N was the last letter I put in today. Also had "atASLANT" at first, as I did not immediately know LOLITA.

    I feel I had a leg up in this one, though. I had worked on it for a while, and even put in LANE and ANTS, without realizing the theme. Then, when browsing in SAFARI, this page was open in another window, and when I clicked on it I saw "Thursday," and closed it, but it was already too late. I had seen the image, and even though I didn't think too much about it, when I looked again at the revealer clue, I immediately understood it all. Oh well. I still enjoyed it quite a bit.

  2. 32:02
    I had all of those things starred, too. I knew LOLITA because Sue and I, a few years ago, decided to watch all of the Kubrick films straight through; we just couldn't find two of the three early documentaries. I didn't notice the capital on Safari, so that took me a few crosses, and I wasn't familiar with the MILAN clue, but was able to get all of the crosses for that, so no problem. I thought that ANTS (29A Stinging insects) was nice misdirection since I wanted to put beeS in there. Along those lines, 22A Jewel case display unit (CDTOWER) was great, too. OBIWAN, LOSTARTS, RODENT: all nice downs. A fun puzzle today.