Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday, July 12, 2015, Patrick Berry


This was a pretty straightforward romp, for the most part. I only had difficulty in the far SW corner. It has Mr. Berry's usual fine touch with cluing, some of which I'll detail below. The one thing the puzzle lacks is the name of today's Wimbledon winner, in the way that yesterday's puzzle somehow managed to predict the winner of the women's singles tournament.

The theme is cute, taking a typical phrase or word and repeating the first syllable to make a new phrase that's silly. My favorite was MIMIANDMYBIGMOUTH. The reference to La Boheme did it for me. I liked the silliness of COCOACONSPIRATORS and CUCKOODETAT. I did not love CHICHIDEVIL, because the root phrase is somewhat derogatory.

Considering there are eight long theme answers, including two pairs that abut each other, I think the fill is well above average. There are only two words which span three theme answers, STUPID and INLUCK, which are both fine answers.

I got off on the wrong foot by confidently putting "town" in at 1A: Hamlet (BURG). I knew that 3D had to be RICE, however, so that came out. I worked on the next little section to the east and was able to figure out the theme from that area. I love 5A: Possible cause of red eyes (FLASH). That's fine cluing. I ended up working down the east side of the puzzle diagonally, and then filling across and back up the west.

Some nice answers include PERFIDY, SIMOLEON, and NOTABLES. We get both ORRIN Hatch and STROM Thurmond (always clued as a Dixiecrat). Thurmond was governor of South Carolina in the 40s and 50s, and a senator in the 50s and 60s. I wonder what he'd make of the Confederate flag coming down in Columbia?

There's a very nice pair of "Collared one" clues, with answers PERP and PET. I also like the Roget's style pair of clues at 21A: Nefarious (EVIL) and 25A: Fulminate (RAGE). 36A: Flipper? (SPATULA) is very good. 117A: Reserve (BOOK) I didn't get until after I'd gotten all the crosses. 122A: No-show in Hubbard's cupboard (BONE) is just silly. So much work for a 4-letter answer!

Don't like ODEUM (never have) or OREM. I had a hard time in the SW because POCATELLO is unknown to me. MAURY took a long time to see. I kept on thinking of Geraldo Rivera instead.

I had a fine time solving this one. Nothing too much to dislike.

- Colum


  1. Romp is a good word for this: very pleasant exercise for a Sunday. Cute theme answers but nothing that really wowed. Nothing that elicited groans either. It's actually the kind of puzzle that makes me think, "I could come up with something like that!" I agree with you on ODEUM. I much prefer ODEON; in fact, the U and the M of the former were my only write-overs. PERFIDY was indeed a real treat to see in the grid. I'm a sucker for those somewhat higher level vocabulary words. "Flexible Flyer, e.g." brought a wave of nostalgia: there are still three of them--small, medium, and large-- up on the wall in the garage at Willard Ave.

  2. I had a busy Sunday, so I hurriedly finished this before heading out for the day. It's never good when you feel you have to plow through a Sunday as fast as possible, especially when it's a Patrick Berry! Some fun stuff, pretty clean. PERFIDY, PLENITUDE, POCATELLO... and the interesting trivia of ALYDAR (basically a random assortment of letters saved by a clue).

    - Horace

  3. I starred FLASH as being clued particularly well and 121A Study too much, say (OGLE) as the best clue I've seen for that crosswordese as yet. Decent puzzle and a good theme. The west had a couple of tricky spots for me, but nothing that wasn't overcome quickly. I'm sure that the puzzle was finished in well under an hour, but I didn't time it as I was outside by the lake solving.