Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tuesday, April 7, 2015, David J. Lieb


I have a soft spot for these "sound progression" puzzles, or whatever they ought to be called. In this one, the letters "OUGH" are shown to have five different pronunciations: "off," "oh," "uff," and "ow," and "oo." Nicely done, and the four theme answers are all legit. Ain't nobody doesn't love a DOUGHNUTHOLE (28A: Petite sweet treat), am I right? And we all enjoy a puzzle we can PLOUGHTHROUGH (53A: Complete without a break, as a labour). (Did they throw the U into "labour" there just because this puzzle is so much about the "ou" sound?)

So I liked the theme. And you know what else? I liked the rest of it too! BEDEVILED (18A: Gave fits) is great, SNICKERAT (57A: Find childishly amusing, say), PIECRUST (9D: Edible shell), ONEUPPING (33D: Besting), and EMERSON (42D: Leader of the transcendentalism movement) are all solid. The 57D: That woman (SHE), 42A: Those women of Paris (ELLES) pairing was fun, and the two "nutmeg" clues to start the downs were another nice pair. [note: I tried to embed John Legend's "Nutmeg" song here, but it does not seem to exist on YouTube. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I recommend you google "nutmeg legend colbert" and watch the first hit.]

Good theme and good fill (and I've only mentioned some of it), and for that, I put up with PODIA, VIETMSS, LCDS, and a few other commonly seen crossword darlings. I can't decide what I think of the two Spanish answers, ANONUEVO (37D: Spanish New Year) and NORTE (65A: 90° from oeste), but really, I don't even know why I'm questioning them at all. I love it when they use French answers. I can't be prejudiced just because I don't know Spanish as well! So forget that, they're both fine.

Very nice Tuesday.

- Horace


  1. 4:27
    I agree, I don't know what RP is complaining about. I think the theme is great. He points out that the spelling of "labour" may be there to hint at the British spelling of the word "plow". Which reminds me of the Plovians. Got to get them back together soon.

    I was expecting a sub-4 time, but got bogged in the SE corner, with SURER and FUROR, OUZO and OZONE, not to mention the aforementioned NORTE. I was moving so easily through before that, I even entered RADIANTS off the RA.

    1. I, too, was fondly reminded of the Plovians, of course, but thought it would be a bit of a stretch to cram that whole story into the review. :) And yes, perhaps so about the British spelling. But in another way, doesn't the "plough" spelling seem much less of a Britishism than, say, "favour," or many others like that one could think of? Well, it is to me, anyway.

  2. Oh, and BTW, the Nutmeg song is awesome. I love the boots Colbert is wearing.

  3. 13:02
    Throw me on the pile of those loving the theme. I was reading the long answers, in fact, to Horace's father yesterday afternoon, and he seemed indifferent, but I'd bet he'd really like it if he pondered over it a bit longer. I'll just mention, to add to the above, 50A Spare tire contents (FAT), which was outstanding.