Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday, April 26, 2015, Patrick Berry


An amusing Sunday theme. The "ch" sound is replaced by "sh" in several common phrases, and then clued in a humorous way. Frannie's favorite today was 82A: What I unexpectedly had for breakfast? (MUSHTOMYSURPRISE), and I found SHEAFINSPECTOR (112A: Reviewer of the paperwork?) unexpectedly amusing.

There's a ton of theme here - ten long answers! - and yet the rest of the fill isn't too, too strained. There's HYOID (57A: ____ bone (U-shaped bone above the larynx)) (did you know this one, Colum?), COATI (42D: Raccoonlike animal), ETAIL - is this a real thing or just a puzzle thing, I don't get out enough to know for sure?, and a slew of plurals - but really, there's not much that's objectionable. But why should we be surprised? It's Patrick Berry!

Being a Francophile (or am I just a poseur?), I enjoyed the meeting of POSEUR (122A: Fraud) and METIER (93D: Occupation). French fans also get ETRE (17D: Raison d'____) beside DIOR (16D: New Look pioneer).

Frannie tried "molar" for "2D: It's down in the mouth," but you had to go a little further down for UVULA. And I tried "mattress" for "6D: Sleep on it," but for that one you had to go a little higher - BEDSHEET.

I loved the clue for SLAP (24A: Indicator of freshness?), and 7A: Like some photographs and cliffs (SCALED) was unusual. 37D: Flip response? (HEADS) was cute, and 41D: "Dagnabbit!" (BYGUM) was nice and old-timey, and "53D: Arm twister's need?" is the best clue I've seen for ULNA. Also, "63D: Unfair?" is very good for RAINY. And it's just icing on the cake that it's followed by 65D: "____ fair!" (NOT). There are other good clues, but I'll save some of them for you to find as you complete this enjoyable Sunday grid for yourself.

- Horace


  1. After I finished this, I was going to give it a "meh" rating, but after reading your review and thinking about it some more, I like it slightly better. The only themer that brought a smile to me was SHEEPTHRILLS. I just like the idea of sheep being thrilled, I guess. YOUBETTERWASHOUT and LAWNSHARES were especially lame, I thought. Maybe I still give the theme a meh overall, but the fill is quite solid. I had also starred the pleasantly strange "Like some photographs and cliffs," as well as METIER, even though I don't think any of the usages of it that I have seen would translate best as "occupation." Loved the tandem of "Unfair?" and "___ fair!" Another one that I really liked was the clue "Ring alternatives" for KEYCASES. Not the best Sunday, but not the worst either, I suppose.

  2. Wow, this one went by quickly. Cece and I did it together. Our favorite by far was SHEEPTHRILLS. We were giggling about it even after the whole grid was filled in. I wasn't sure if the ULNA clue was referring to the one twisting the arm, or the one whose arm was being twisted - you need an ulna in either case! The other anatomical entry took a couple of crosses to figure out, but yes, Horace, I do know the HYOID bone. I put in BEDStead for BEDSHEET - close but no cigar. High quality Sunday.

  3. 32:33
    I didn't know HYOID, and KEYCASES was the final word to go in for me (the aforementioned HYOID and also CATS (62A Jazzmen) being slow to come. I finished this puzzle one second slower than my morning 4.01M run (32:32). I agree with ET59 on the meh-ness of the theme, and with Horace on the clean-ness of the fill (generally). This ran slightly easy for a Sunday. I prefer a time between 45 and 60 minutes. My least favorite clue/answer was 52D Painter of illusions (OPARTIST); I'd never heard that term and it seems a bit strained to me, but I suppose it must be a thing (of course, I've heard of op-art).