Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015, Jacob Stulberg


I had to IM with Frannie today, after staring at the NW corner for about twenty minutes, to ask her for a clue or two. I had the bottom and the right edges, but even with at least one cross in every clue I still couldn't come up with anything! I think she gave me CHIC (1A: In) (ok. I guess that works) and ETAL (17A: Citation abbr.) (don't know quite why I couldn't get this), and then, finally, with three crosses in each of the three downs I didn't have, I was able to get that corner done.

But never mind about all that. I loved this puzzle! And so did Frannie. We both had the same reaction when we got to "5D: How most babies come out," which is to say we both put in HEAD[FIRST] right away and said "Rebus!" And a lovely one it is. The old Abbot and Costello routine about baseball seems appropriate for the week baseball begins,

but I'm not sure the revealer adds much to it, as BASES (63A: Contents of three squares in this puzzle, per an old comedy routine) doesn't really describe what is in the rebus boxes for me. I have WHO, WHAT, and IDONTKNOW, and they're not bases. Frannie left FIRST, SECOND, and THIRD in hers (which also worked), and they are bases, of course, but they would be even without the old routine. But all that sounds too much like I'm complaining. I'm not. I really did enjoy this one a lot.

Two fifteens, two tens, and six nines make this a lively grid. And some of the shorter stuff is quite zippy as well. Frannie loved the clue 37A: Make keen (WHET), which she thought was perfect, and I thought the misdirection in 30A: Notable tower, for short (AAA) was very tricky. And speaking of pronouncing things wrong - I actually asked Frannie "What's OMNI-science?" Heh. It's OMNI-science. Guess I don't have that. HAH! And 54A: You might hold it by a trash can (NOSE) was yet another good one. 45D: General transportation? (STEED). Also nice. Lastly, Frannie liked the "seventies TV Ad" cross of NAIR and GINSU.

A fun, challenging (for me anyway) Thursday. And like the man who SATIDLE said, IREST.

- Horace


  1. 23:41
    There was stuff I liked about this puzzle, and there was stuff I really didn't like about this puzzle. But the theme is clever, and the cojones to have [IDONTKNOW] in one square is impressive. I didn't like the fact that there were two long answers in the puzzle that were not theme related, but that was when I hadn't realized that the theme answers are in fact in symmetrical positions (the rebus squares themselves threw me). That's also one of the reasons Cece and I struggled to finish the puzzle.

    The hardest section for us was the middle E section. BLUEPENCIL took a while to get, I didn't know who the heck PETEROUSE was. For the second time, I wanted to put IdEST in for IREST. We'd had that same clue/answer pairing some time ago. So ORAL took a while to figure out. Then we didn't get the "tower" clue until just now, reading your review. Cece suggested "Eiffel?" I said "Leaning of Pisa?" And when AAA went in, I assumed some strange tower of batteries and moved on.

    We were also messed up by having put EINe in for EINS. Trying to figure out what 27D: "F" on a test could mean when we had F_LEE was a struggle. I was all over Fort Lee (FTLEE) but Cece appropriately scoffed. Got it in the end, thank goodness.

  2. 39:30
    Isn't "F" on a test FALSE? That's what I put, anyway. I love the A&C routine, and often watch it on the YouTube, marveling at their genius timing (which is what separates the wheat from the chaff, of course). I, too, loved the WHO-WHAT-IDONTKNOW run as well as the FIRST-SECOND-THIRD run, and the way that all of the former were across and the latter down. I'll only add here that I always enjoy novel clues to oft-used crossword answers, as in 21A Brown-eared comics character (ODIE). I still don't get AAA. Is it a musical reference? Whatever...the crosses made it happen.