Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wednesday, June 17, 2015, Molly Young and David J. Kahn


I started off with a vague dislike for this puzzle that diminished as I completed more of it. :) When at first I didn't know the long, connected theme answers, I assumed I wouldn't be able to complete the puzzle, but, as I chipped away at it during the middle of the night, as it happens, it all came together. And, I learned some stuff from a mid-week puzzle. What do you know about that, Horace? :) I had no idea JEANPAULSARTRE turned down the Nobel Prize in literature. I didn't think of him right away for 15D. Playwright who refused and 8-/57-Down in 1964 because I think of Sartre as more of an author than specifically a playwright, but who am I to argue with the Swedish Academy? The other refuseniks in the puzzle were also news to me, not the people themselves, naturally, but the fact that they turned down their attempted respective honors. I found it a little strange that there was another two-part answer in the puzzle, unconnected with the theme. Plus, MEL OTT was no GIMME, at least not for me.

Some of the longer fill at the four edges of the grid was nice, including 1A. URGED, (better answer than clue), 6A. WINSOME, 15A. JALOPIES, 67A. ONELINER, 74A. SOURON, 27D. RADIUM, 28D. STEPPE, and 33D. MUSING, Now that I know 18A. 1921 play that introduced the word "robot" (RUR) I love to see it in puzzles. Maybe Huygens liked 63A. Supporter of a sort, although, maybe not. ;). EPEE for Poker game? (50D) was cute.

I absolutely do not want to pick NITS, ever, but the answer TECH for 65A. Programming pro, e.g. didn't feel spot on. I think of a tech guy as more of a hardware specialist than a programmer. I wasn't too keen on TAUTENS for 75A. Takes up the slack? Maybe the puzzle creators weren't either, thus the question mark. And can you really go with an abbreviation for Home of the elves known as hulduf√≥lk (44A. ICEL) when there's a good chance no one has ever heard of these secretive people? I always hate to see the answer SAC in a puzzle, no matter what the clue, in this case 45A. Yolk container. UNSOWN for 39A, Like virgin soil seems a bit of a stretch. Can you imagine a farmer saying, "Hey Bob, what's that unsown patch over there?" And Bob says, "It's virgin soil, Carl." Maybe you hear that more around the community gardens in NYC.

Overall, although I SEESAWed a little on this one, I ended up in the TREAT camp.



  1. 8:47
    There's an awful lot of theme which explains the unpleasantness of some of the fill. ICEL, par exemple, comes about when you have a four-letter word and the I and L are fixed by themes. For all that, the puzzle works pretty darn good. I love that Sartre refused the NOBEL/PRIZE - his reasons are interesting and worth reading about. I had no idea that Bowie had refused a KNIGHTHOOD. I did know about the refused ACADEMYAWARD, but thought it was Marlon Brando (same number of letters as GEORGECSCOTT). Turns out Brando did refuse the Oscar the following year.

    And to top it all off, MEL refused OTT! No, really.

    1. I also confidently threw in Brando, and was surprised to learn Scott had also done it. Very interesting puzzle theme!

  2. 12:27

    Yeah, SAC, is terrible. "Yolk container?" WTF? I mean, really! Also, not only have I never heard of the fine huldufólk, I've never seen the abbreviation ICEL for Iceland. Hmph. I've also never heard of "MICRO" aggression. Or the DEANS list... oh wait...

    On the other hand, I also enjoyed the theme, and that clue for EPEE was the best I have seen.

  3. 27:51
    I agree with the comments on SAC; it's always a disappointment to see that in a grid, but at least today was egg-themed, which I still eat...for now. I do always enjoy BRA, but it's usually a GIMME, and today was no exception. Nice that ART is atop WAR, as I've read a book with those two words prominently in its title ( I like free Kindle books), and that TECH abuts WAR, because isn't that a thing? However, I do agree with Frannie on the weakness of the clue/answer for TECH. TIMEZONE was nicely clued. Not much else of note in here, but it was an excellently executed puzzle.