Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thursday, July 30, 2015, Brendan Emmett Quigley

14:20 (FWOE)

One thing this puzzle was not, was PLUGUGLY, as ET59 described yesterday's corners.

I generally am pleased to see Mr. Quigley's name associated with a puzzle. While there are a few answers in today's puzzle that I did not like much, the majority worked very nicely.

It's a cute theme, adding the names of Louisa May ALCOTT's Little Women to phrases to create new silly phrases. The two outstanding answers are the 14-letter answers at 28A and 44A (BIGAMYBUSINESS and MACBETHNCHEESE). The other two are not as funny, but work all right. The answers are also balanced in that two of them add the name at the end of the phrase while the other two add the name in the middle. I also liked that the revealer is the simple addition of the author's name.
Things started off well with 1A: Chronicler of the English Restoration, which could only mean Samuel PEPYS ("and so to bed..."). 4D: Something to meditate on (YOGAMAT) is delightfully straightforward, and un-question-marked. UNEARTH is a very nice word, as is KNELLED. 12D: Ones in the closet? (MOTHS) was unexpected, and slightly disturbing.

I had some difficulty with 15A: Baby ____ (MAMA), and I didn't want JAMUPS to be correct, because that's not such a great answer. LANATE, ACCRUAL, MACRON, and ILEAC were unusual and not very aesthetic. I wanted ILEAl for the last one. My error came at 58D: Cartoonist Mayerik who co-created Howard the Duck (VAL). I had VAd, which seemed to work for 65A: "Follow" (HEEL), since I had HEEd.

29D: One doing the dishes? (YENTE) is a cute clue for an all-too-common crosswordy answer. Some good clues for 3-letter answers include: 25A: Booster for a band (AMP), 33A: School closing? (ELL, and it took me too long to get), and 6D: Small price to pay? (AMT), which was a very clever way to get around an "Abbr." marking.

I liked the entire SE corner, and it's amusing that 60D: Last ____ (ONE) is in fact the last clue.

The more I look at it, the less I like some of these things, but I still enjoyed the puzzle overall.

- Colum


  1. 0:22:03 (FWOE)

    I had the exact same error! HEEd for HEEL, and PEPYS went in immediately, because "Chronicler" and "English"... Furthermore, I had the same difficulty with ELL. When, o when will I be able to see those more quickly?!

    The more I look at it, the more I do like certain things. And I still LOL at pretty much all the theme answers, so I guess I give it a thumbs up, despite the difficult cross that we both got wrong, and the nearly equally difficult cross right above it, the end of ANNA and the middle of VAL. Aside from that, though, I enjoyed it.

    p.s. I didn't fully grok "small" price to pay until now. Very nice.

  2. I guess I like this one well enough, although I think it feels more like a Monday-Tuesday theme than a Thursday. BIGAMYBUSINESS is really the only one of the themers that I would call excellent. The top and bottom ones are fair to poor, and the MACBETH one is OK, but the N bugs me somehow. Horace, I think my "Punny Soaps" puzzle was better. Maybe I should take another look at that and try to spruce it up a bit. Colum, I agree about those three 3-letter clues. The one for AMT is a stroke of genius, turning what is always a weak link into a puzzle highlight. I actually liked ACCRUAL. And I'm surprised no one has mentioned "To whom 'I'll take . . .' is often said" Great clue! How cool is it that it's easily gettable just from those two words?? Also like "Source of some shadows, for short." Didn't we just see a shadow clue for a "beard" answer? HEEL is clearly indicated by the quotation marks, which signify a spoken command. I guess I liked this well enough, lightweight though it was. I'm looking for better from the Friday, which I'm starting as soon as I post this.

    1. Spoiler alert - I'm halfway through the Friday and I already love it.

      I didn't get ALEX off the clue, and I suppose you're right about "Follow," but sometimes you don't fully take into account punctuation like quotation marks, I guess.

      It's funny, I think, that I had TNT in for "38A: Real blast" for a while, and I thought immediately of "squats" for "64A: Sticks in an abandoned building?" Heh.

      And yes, ACCRUAL was quite nice.

    2. Also, "Shambles, e.g." was good, too!

  3. And lastly, I just want to say that I have held, in my grubby little hands, Melville's own copy of "The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex," complete with marginalia and end notes by Mr. Moby Dick himself. Exciting!

  4. Unknown Time
    I had ALCOTT early on, but the theme came to me slowly. Once I filled in TOUGHNUTMEG, though, it all fell into place. I thought that it was pretty well-done. Did Frannie ever get around to trying it?