Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015, Jacob Stulberg


What a massive dull struggle this was. For the record, I like the theme a lot. The idea of embedding a poem in its entirety is interesting, and WILLIAMCARLOSWILLIAMS is a poet I'm fond of. It's interesting that the poem's name, THELOCUSTTREEINFLOWER has the same number of letters as its author's name. The poem in use is the second version, much pared down to its essential images.

I don't really mind that sometimes the poem's words are embedded in longer entries, whereas in other answers, the word in question is a separate thing. That being said, the best ones are MASTIFF and CUCAMONGA. GREENING is not a word I want to see in the puzzle.

That's it for the theme. And the price we pay is the fill. My goodness, I was unhappy with the fill. So many, many, many abbreviations. How would you like it if I wrote the blog post entirely in abbreviations? It wd gt anyg qkly. And so does this puzzle.

TKT UNH VAC (I don't even know how that gets in) CPA MNO (better than the others) RRR (hmmmm) TLC SLR CTN AAA SPCA MSN YTD GTOS LTS BRB SOC TCM ANAT (not actually a subject on the MCATs, but whatever) REC EXO EDS GST. Wow, that's a lot. And when one abbreviation crosses another, it can be a total guessing game (like GST and SPCA).

Beyond those, we get ANGERER, IRONERS, ELIST, and SALIENCES, all of which I have major problems with for one reason or another. Not to mention your usual gaggle of crosswordese. You know, there really ought to be a collective noun for crosswordese entries. I nominate a "shrug of crosswordese." OTO, CYAN, NANO, EDO, IODATE (blah), etc. etc.

Things I liked in the fill: GLIA, for obvious reasons. 98D: What may make you duck down? (EIDERS). 71D: Harp's home key (CFLAT) - which I didn't know and would never have guessed. Why not B? Not clear even after research on the Interwebz. BUTCHERED is a good word. I enjoyed PEGLEG crossing ROLLINGGAIT, as I imagine those two would go together. And an opportunity was missed somehow with 99D: Certain salt, to connect in with those other two.

It was a slog, and I didn't enjoy myself.

- Colum


  1. I laughed for a good long time about your "Why not B?" comment. I didn't think of it during the solve because, like you, I was not enjoying myself and was not free to think of humorous things. I disliked much of this, too, and actually FWOE'd on that GST/SPCA cross. I had entered GMT and never looked back.

    I very much disliked the VAC area, and actually had to ask Frannie for a little assistance up there. ANGELOS? Why? I've never been to or heard of a pizza parlor with that name. And the double-California cross was also irritating. I would have preferred an America (musical group) reference on the VENTURA highway one.

    It wasn't all bad, but it wasn't very good. "Shrug of crosswordese" is nice, but I'd like something more "unwilling." Something like a "surrender," a "sacrifice," or a "capitulation of crosswordese."

    1. Seems like the C-flat thing is a convention, but it's an awfully weird one. I like "capitulation" both for the alliteration, but also for the use of a complex word when a simpler one would do the trick.

  2. Agree that this was a big puzzle where dogged persistence rather than inspired thinking paid off, which is possibly why I was able to complete it, on my own with no errors! :) As I was solving I was groaning at many of the answers cited by our esteemed reviewer. Therefore, despite the lack of snappy alliteration, I respectfully submit a "groan" of crosswordese as the collective noun.

    Interesting that the Saturday puzzle had EATDIRT and Sunday's had ATEDIRT. Do I sense a story line here somewhere? :) But really, that's a little too much dirt eating for my tastes.

    I also want to give a shout out to 1D. Dutch pot contents (TULIP). Ha!


  3. 61:27 (FWOE)
    The GST/SPCA cross, ironically. Actually, I rarely, if ever, see GST; it's always GMT or UT. And I read a vast amount of astronomy-related stuff. Of course, I should have read the cross more carefully and noted that the somewhat tricky _PCA clue could only relate to a toy-sized animal being championed by the oft-appearing SPCA. I had whaLEr in for PEGLEG for a while, and xes in for MNO (47A 6 letters?), but really, there were no big slowdowns (even though Colum may look at my time and disagree!) and no really tough sections. All of the crosses were fair, and I thought that the puzzle was just fine, although I, also, have never been to or heard of an ANGELOS. GREENING isn't great. I guess I'll admit that there was some junk but c'mon, it's a big puzzle.