Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015, David Phillips


It's deja vu all over again! ABS makes a return at 1A, NEINS at 47D, and another tic-tac-toe at 36D (OOX). We also saw LADD again, but referencing Cheryl rather than Alan.

I found this puzzle to have some very nice bits and some other areas I could have done entirely without. The theme is fine, as far as it goes. 56A is the revealer (ITSINTHEBAG), which lets us know that the first word from the other four theme answers are things you can have in a bag. ICEROADTRUCKERS is a nice 15-letter answer across the middle, while 45A: Structure built from the ground up? (SANDCASTLE) is an cute clue. I don't much care for TEAPARTIER, either the item in question or the term, which I think is likely better represented by "Tea Party member".

9D: Big egg producers (OSTRICHES) is excellent cluing. No question mark needed, but it's misdirecting nonetheless. 10D: TV/movie lead character whose middle name is Tiberius (JAMESKIRK) is kind of a gimme, but a nice answer anyway. Does it count as a kind of duplication that TIBER is in the grid also?

The companion pair of 9-letter down answers in the SW are not as strong, but still pretty good: DECOUPAGE and ACAIBERRY. I also enjoyed 20A: Rush experienced during a movie? (GEOFFREY), with its nice hidden capital. 14D: Swiss sub? (AMERICAN) is pretty good.

I like having BACH in the grid, especially when the clue references the non-existent P.D.Q. Erik SATIE gives an extra classical boost. AUDACITY is a good answer.

On the downside, SESS is always an ugly answer. I don't like when an abbreviation clue yields another abbreviation, like with RET. And ASSNS is also in there, along with NEA and NRC.

Is OOZY really a word?

- Colum


  1. LIS (not LyS) is back, as well, and with the exact same boring fill-in clue. Couldn't some constructor think of a different way to clue the French "lily"?

    Nice review, though. I too found this to be a mixed bag. I wasn't crazy about the clue for SANDCASTLE; I associate "ground" more with dirt, mud, or rock. "Pueblo" would be a better answer for that clue. SESS and ASSNS should never be together in the same puzzle. Perhaps they should never be separate in the same puzzle, especially the ridiculous latter. It looks absurd; plus, I've always thought of the abbreviation of "association" as assoc. One thing you didn't mention about this thing is how old it skews. Consider: BURMA, BOOKEMDANNO, GEOFFREY, SIR, LADD, AENEAS, ARCHIE, BUT, FINNEY, DEVO, JAMESKIRK, FLICKA, DRRUTH, BACH, and SATIE. I'm probably forgetting a couple. About all we have to counterbalance the olden days are TMZ and Tosh.0, which, incidentally, is not a very favorable reflection on contemporary culture. Here are a few things I liked (in addition to the handful you gave a shout to in paragraphs 3 and 4): ICKIER isn't the greatest fill maybe, but if we have to see it, let it come with a clue involving cooties. BOONE provides a nice, specific datum of trivia. Speaking of deja vu, have I mentioned lately that I look favorably on any reference to the Batman TV series? And, finally, if we have to have opera, let it be clued in a way similar to "Dido and ____," so non-opera folk have a good chance at filling the answer in without crosses too.

    I suppose OOZY is a word, but those 3 x 3's in the NE and SW are not pretty

    This took me about twice as long as Monday's, thanks in large part to my never having heard of ICEROADTRUCKERS, which made for slower going across the middle.

  2. 19:56
    I liked JAMESKIRK in the grid, and enjoyed the clue (although, as Colum says, it was somewhat of a gimme), and also starred BACH. And what, Colum doesn't like tea? I have at least two cups per day (green after lunch and ginger following dinner). And I agree with ET59 on the poor cluing for SANDCASTLE, made even worse with that question mark. The SW is awful-looking: ORA, ARG, RYE. The puzzle was OK, but I come down more on the side of thumbs-down for this one.