Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday, June 28, 2015, Jeremy Newton


From the get-go this thing was looking good. UNJAM is a tricky answer for "1A: Free, as copies." CAUSE (18A: Gay rights, e.g.) is timely. NAGNAGNAG (23A: "Geez, get off my back already!" is fresh and fun, GLOBE (6A: Small world?) is cute… and we haven't even come to the theme yet, which is also excellent.
To many, I think, cross-referenced clues are often hit or miss, but here, the cross-referenced theme is actually made up of words that cross each other, and it took us a little while to really understand the full glory of it all. With the first set - 3D: With 18-Across, "To be on the safe side …" I spent a few seconds thinking about it and saw the combination of "JUST" and "CAUSE" and I thought … "ok, 'just cause,' that's something..." But when I had to put 13D: Unlikely butchers (VEGANS), with 30A: With 13-Down, shorthand pact for a wild trip (WHATHAPPENS), I came up with "What happens vegans," which didn't make a lot of sense. Eventually I realized that "Just cause" was really JUST in CASE, and "what happens vegans" was WHATHAPPENS in VEGAS! For the theme, you have to just picture the one word ramming through the other and breaking it into two parts, but the really great thing is that the broken word also works with the letter ramming through it! Beautiful. Let's do one more - "52A: With 49-Down, 1995 Oscar-nominated Pixar theme song" isn't a tribute to Mr. Szyslak, (49D: Good name for a lawn care guy? (MOE) - hah!), but YOUVEGOTAFRIEND in ME. Nice.

OK, so I liked it. What else… I immediately thought of "ephemeral" for 12D: Not here for long, but the real answer was an even better word (and the correct length!) - EVANESCENT. OPIUMDEN (36D: Smoke-filled establishment) was surprising. 102D: Off-color (BAWDY) and SPURT should make Huygens GOAPE. ECLECTIC (107A: Diverse), POUNCE (93A: Not let a big opportunity slip by, say), and TOWNDRUNK (114A: Stock character like Maybery's Otis) are all nice.

Sure, there's a nice crosswordese crossing at SSTS and STYE… I've never heard of PERL (93D: Physics Nobelist Martin, discoverer of the tauon) or ELMO (99A: Admiral Zumwalt), and I'd say AVE (20A: Hello from Hadrian) is more of a "goodbye" and "salve" is more of a "hello," but maybe I've just been using those wrong… and really, that small amount of barely questionable material is a small price to pay for a Sunday this good. Let's end on a couple more good ones - 89A: Guard at a gated community? (STPETER) and 121A: Age-old bug trap (AMBER). Good stuff!

- Horace


  1. Yes, even better than last Sunday's. The cluing throughout was uniformly excellent, and the theme was fun. As you know, because I solved it sitting on your sofa, I was exclaiming or chuckling throughout. Good fun.

  2. 32:38
    What, Colum's in Belmont? Anyway, I figured out the theme pretty quickly and the fill was good, too, so it made for a quick solve (for me, not for Colum!). Even some of the shorter stuff, like NOTV (37D Timeout alternative) and THE (77A Start of many Batman villain names) was great; I mean, how many ways could the latter have been clued? And don't even talk to me about 119A Dull finish? (ARD), even with the question mark. GOAPE looks odd in there. Thumbs up.