Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday, April 19, 2015, Don Gagliardo and Zhouqin Burnikel


I found this to be a pretty tough Sunday, and I was a little surprised when I got the "Congratulations!" screen. It had, for instance, the most obscure Hebrew bible cross-reference I've ever seen - 21A: Source of the line "They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind" (HOSEA) and 48D: Follower of 21A (JOEL). Wow.

The "Double Down" theme consisted of a rebus square that allowed several Down clues to be read twice, giving a two-word phrase. For example, "12D: Later" is answered by making the phrase "Not now" (NO[TW]). Get it? Another nice one was 46D: Lunatic (MA[DN]) "Mad man." In the across clues, the letters were just used in succession - 23A: Moving in a nice way (HEAR[TW]ARMING) and 57A: Friendly (GOO[DN]ATURED). Not a bad theme, I guess, but not really earth-shattering. My favorite bit of it might be EVENIN[GS]TAR (83A: Venus), just because it's such a nice sounding name, and it conjures up a peaceful image of being outside in the evening and star-gazing.

There were, I think, eight rebus squares, and they seemed to strain the fill in some unfortunate ways. For example - QUM (72A: Iranian pilgrimage city), TITI (91A: Long-tailed monkey) (it's lucky we just recently saw this!), EGER (25A: Hungarian city), TATATANTARABAABAA, ESSA, ENDOHAIG & HAAG, and some odd-looking partials - ITOR, ASWE, AJAM, ASTO, and IBE. I didn't particularly love EBONIES (53A: A piano has 36 of them), or SAPOR (76A: Flavor), or RESANDS or RESEEDS (87A: Changes the placement of in a tournament bracket), but what are you going to do?

There were also, of course, some clues that made me smile once I came up with the answers. 13A: Mini revelation? (THIGH), for example, was excellent. And coming off of that one, HOMOERECTUS (14D: Old man?) wasn't bad, either. I'm pretty sure Frannie was recently in Den HAAG for something or other, and today she's in London, perhaps doing a few PRESSUPs in the hotel room. (I'd bet a lot of money that she's not actually doing any.) INSINUATION (42D: Sly suggestion) was nice, and the MIKADO always makes me smile.

Overall, I guess I didn't love it.

- Horace


  1. 90:04
    Agree...tough Sunday. Normally I'm finished in half the time. It took me awhile to figure out the rebus, but that wasn't the big problem. GOREN crossing TANTARA crossing TANS crossing AGON down there in the SW was a bit of trouble, as was the NE with HAAG crossing WHAMO and THIGH (excellent) and HOSEA crossing with HAGS (is that really a Halloween costume?). I knew QUM, but needed crosses for the bible references, even PLAGUE. I, of course, wanted black keys instead of EBONIES, but didn't mind that answer, and FRETS was another nice musical answer. All-in-all, it was fine, but I'd rather finish a Sunday puzzle in under an hour.

  2. MIKADO is great, and I liked seeing Charles GOREN as well. I misunderstood the theme because on the first couple of examples, the missing letter of the second down word was right next to it. For example, PAY had an L right next to the A in EATSALONE. So I put in PAPETRAIL and got an incorrect final answer. Oh well, whatever.