Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015, Jacob Stulberg


I don't know that I've ever seen a theme quite like this one before: a 4-letter words is repeated three times and respaced to create a wacky sentence. The first one is the least successful: VISAVISAVISA (vis-a-vis a visa), in that the new splitting is not surprising enough. But it definitely gets better as it goes down.

ABELABELABEL (Abe label Abel) gets a nod for referencing the Simpsons. Although in looking it over right now, I realize I'd misrecalled the clue, thinking it said only "Grampa", not the full "Grampa Simpson." I would have liked the first better. This theme answer though still doesn't get it quite right, because the wacky sentence simply is weird rather than interesting.

The third theme answer is RIDERIDERIDE (rider I deride). This is much better. I like that the middle word disappears entirely in the reimagined phrase. It's not exactly wacky, but I enjoyed the use of the word "jeered" in the clue. It's also the odd one out because it's the only one where the original 4-letter word does not appear in the wacky phrase.

57A: Detective catches sight of bakery wares? (PIESPIESPIES, or P.I. espies pies) is the best of the bunch. It's amusing when you figure out the private investigator, and the concept of a detective being on the lookout for a bunch of pies is amusing.

So, yeah.

Anyway, the rest of the puzzle is pretty standard stuff. You get a threesome of baseball references at 1A (SACS), 12D (ASH), and 13D (MET). You get a duo of Huygens material with MESH and LEWD. That last has a very peculiar clue: "Off-color, plus" - is that meant to be "beyond off-color?" I think so. I've just not seen that usage before.

There's very little interesting in the cluing either. I like 55A: Wordless harrumphs (SNORTS) and 59A: It might make a shadow disappear (RAZOR). Otherwise, pretty bland.

I was amused by working out the theme. Beyond that, nothing much to rave about.

- Colum


  1. 11:36
    That's not what they mean by "EASTER." I really enjoyed this one for the reasons mentioned. However, "Simpson" was necessary because how else would one know it's Abe? 46A Paper Mate's Pink Pearl, e.g. (ERASER) was a nice clue for that oft-seen answer. I don't know if the grossest answer is SPUME or CYST; I guess it's a toss-up. PRIORY (48D Home to monks or nuns) is interesting for its unusualness. I'd probably add 17A to the Huygens material, but I never know where to draw the line....

  2. 8:41

    Enjoyed the wackiness of the theme quite a bit. The review was "Spang on," to use a newly learned word from a previous puzzle. And CYST is clearly the more gross.