Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wednesday, April 22, 2015, Alex Vratsanos and Sam Ezersky

0:08:34 (FWOE)

I was so proud of myself for coming up with cHI almost immediately for 14A: Greek letter that's also an M.L.B. city on scoreboards), but in the end it was what cost me a perfect puzzle. I didn't check the down, and AcP didn't make any sense for 1D: 99¢ purchase, often (APP). Always check the crosses!

OK, now that that's out of the way... I liked this theme of PAIRSOFCARDS (56A: Some poker holdings ... or a hint to 20-, 24-, 30-, 41-, and 52-Across). Each theme answer (and it sure seems like the theme is dense in this one - six answers!) can be broken into two words, each of which can be put before "card" to make a common object. "Credit card," "report card," "hole card" (poker reference), etc. I tend to like this type of theme, and this one is done particularly well, I think. The revealer itself is probably the weakest link, as it sounds a bit odd.

The fill is good, too, with lots of nice sevens running into and out of the theme material. Doesn't THECOPA (2D: Hangout in a Barry Manilow hit) always bring a smile to your face? And I kind of like the side-by-side OLDDAYS (45D: Bygone times) and SMASHUP (46D: Major wreck) in the opposite corner. And speaking of that corner, we also find AMY down there! ICEFREE (44D: Navigable in winter, say) seems the most arbitrary of the bunch, but still it makes sense, so it's not much of an issue.

You know, maybe I'm getting a little soft, but it almost makes me smile to see things like ELOI, IPOD, and TOPE in a puzzle. They're like old friends. ACEY and AAS is pushing it, but overall, there wasn't too much of that kind of thing.

Thumbs up.

- Horace


  1. 15:34
    Yes, check your crosses. The NW was my final corner today although I filled in THECOPA right away; not ATV nor PHI nor PEP, much less the "VIP" of VIPROOM would come to me without a struggle. The rest was easy enough, even though I didn't know JOANNE was the "J" in J.K. Rowling (58A) without a couple of crosses. It almost looks like this may have been an attempted pangram, as we're only missing a K and a Q. IOW, lots of hard-to-use letters are there, but not those two, which one wouldn't think would be too difficult to work in. Maybe it wasn't a thought...who knows? I liked seeing TOILET in there because 1) it has to do with my livelihood and 2) we'll have two new ones at the YBH in a matter of days. That's all I've got, except that 37D Asparagus unit (SPEAR) is getting a bit old; can't we work in a singular Britney somehow?

  2. 7:16 (FWOE)
    My mistake was stupid. JeANNE instead of JOANNE. How could I have thought that Brian Eno would have been a "Strawberry Fields benefactor"? Well, it wasn't out of the realm of the possible, I suppose. The theme works great except for the revealer. PAIRSOFCARDS is just not an acceptable phrase. Everything else works well.

    And in exchange, we do get BIGPAPI next to CHANEL which is pretty hi-larious, if you ask me. There's lots of peppy stuff, including EYEROLL and DOITNOW. But OSH.