Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015, Byron Walden


I like the theme here, revealed nicely at 57A: Part of washing... or what's exhibited by the circled (grey) letters from top to bottom (RINSECYCLE). It's a perfect cycle of five rotations of the letters in order from ERINS through to RINSE, each time part of another longer answer. SLYTHERINS was the first to go in, and while I had parts of each of the other words, I didn't get any of them until I answered the revealer. Then I saw the cycle, and was able to fill in enough to get all of the theme answers in short order.

NOSERINGS and SPINSERVE are both fine. INTENSERIVALS I don't buy as a real phrase, although I see how it was necessary given the constraints of the theme. Those constraints also lead to the necessary REEKS/REELS/REEFS trio down the middle.

The rest of the puzzle are four very chunky corners with minimal theme content, each making sort of a mini-puzzle of its own. There's no question which is the best corner. The SW with MALENUDE right above PHONESEX wins hands down, although the connection with SANTAHAT is tenuous if not disturbing. I wanted lIMPS, but had to switch to GIMPS once I made the connection with 1D (GOT APASS). In fact, you could put that term in with the other ribald terms if you want. Matt BIONDI was frequently a nearly nude male.

62A: Big name in western literature (LAMOUR) was clever. I was not expecting that sense of the word "western." 13D: Shot in the crease? (BOTOX) is quite nice. I was thinking maybe a vaccine or a booster, but the actual answer is much better. I suppose that 49D: Fish hook? (TALON) is referring to raptors who catch fish with their feet. '

I enjoyed the clue for LAYLA. ISRAELIS is a nice long answer. ABUDHABI comes from the same region of the world.


Kind of a fun puzzle.


  1. 19:46

    Agree. This was a fun one. And conversely, SLYTHERINS was almost the last thing entered for me. I think I give up when I see the "Harry Potter" clues, because I didn't read them. Sure, I saw the movie, and I recognize the house name, but at one point I was thinking to myself "Was there a Blythe somebodyorother in there somewhere?"

    ARTIE went in without crosses, of course, and ANYHOO also gets used a lot in The Simpsons, so that was a nice pair. SCOOT is a good word, and the clueing was good throughout, I thought. Except maybe for "The animal of an animal cracker, e.g." Whaaa?

  2. 25:50
    The NE was the mire for me today. BIONDI is unknown to me, and I'm not enough of a Simpsons expert to know ARTIE Ziff. The crosses NINEIRON and TOILETTE came slowly, too, though I really enjoyed the latter once I figured it out. Colum, I noted the pairing of MALENUDE and PHONESEX, too, but had the same icky feeling with SANTAHAT being right below them. I also thought that 15A Rear (PARENT) was nice misdirection, as was 37D Fair (EXPO), even though it's seen somewhat regularly. Of course I knew 54D Dwarf planet orbited by NASA's Dawn in 2015 (CERES) with no crosses.