Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2015, Gary Cee


One second faster than Monday's time, FWIW. Actually, it does sort of seem like yesterday's puzzle should have been a Tuesday and today's should have been a Monday. But I guess one second's too minimal to be picking such nits.

This is a fine themed puzzle to be finishing out March with. VERBALGYMNASTICS is the revealer and presumably the seed, as it's a 15-letter answer. And each of the long across theme answers has a gymnastics element as the second part of the phrase. I guess they're "verbal" in that they're all words. It would have been too much to ask to have each phrase reference both gymnastics and linguistics, and to have them be recognizable phrases to boot.

As it is, each one is entirely acceptable as a phrase. The two plurals are plural because the gymnastics item are usually referred to in the plural; to wit, the rings and the (parallel) bars. I like HIGHHORSE best because of the funny visual of a gymnast attempting to vault an elevated horse. Second best is ONIONRINGS because I'll nearly always order them if they're available.

There are no clues that are in any way amusing or misleading, which is probably why I did so well on time. Some nice words in the grid include the two long down answers, TORTELLINI and LARYNGITIS. I like when the creator can stick in a couple of fine non-theme entries like that. NOWWHAT and YOOHOO are fun exclamations. Cece got two of those, as well as HONEY and TERRA.

I like seeing ALISON Krauss represented, as well as BERT. I like some of SARA Bareilles' music. Things I didn't like so much include ASTIR (not really a word, is it?), CONT and TEL (two barely acceptable abbreviations), and the partial AFAN.

Happy belated to Horace! He's taking over again tomorrow. Here's hoping he's recovered from his crossword bonanza over the weekend.

Signing off,

- Colum


  1. 5:48

    How about this for an amazing coincidence? I, too, finished this one second faster than yesterday's! UNREAL.

    COFFEEBARS seems the weakest, to me, but I suppose it's a thing people say. I wish there were more true "coffee bars" in this country like the "brasseries" in Europe, where people are equally at home ordering an expresso or a beer. It just doesn't seem to work over here.

    Anyhoo, thanks for the birthday wishes. I'm looking forward to getting back on my HIGHHORSE and writing a few ESSAYs about the puzzles to come.

    Lastly, on my way down to Stamford last weekend I stopped at Rein's for a turkey REUBEN. Mmmmm..... Rein's turkey reuben .... with extra kraut.... and an extra pickle.....

  2. 10:52
    Sue and I generally stop at Rein's when we go by there, and I often will order ONIONRINGS when out if they're not the frozen, boxed type. ASSORT held me up for awhile (51D Classify), but as the crosses slowly filled in I got it; it's not a word that I'd use too often. Good Huygens fill at 21A Virility (MANHOOD), and LASERBEAM (26A Metaphor for straightness) is something my namesake would have enjoyed had he lived to see one. My time was not within one second of yesterday's time, as I recall.