Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015, Caleb Emmons

5:42 (FWTE)



I've got nothing against a good gimmick. And there is something impressive about a puzzle that uses only one vowel per row, in order of AEIOU, then does it again, and then again. So I acknowledge the artistry of the gimmick. But that's what it feels like in the end, a gimmick, in large part because of the compromises that have to be made to make it work.
Let me start with my errors, which came in the same word. I don't know why I thought CSI would be Cis. That stands for "clinically isolated syndrome" in Neurology, which is the first episode of symptoms in what might or might not become multiple sclerosis down the line. Regardless, it's not a television show, so all of that is just hot air.

Why might I have made that error? Well, let's see. 35D: Make a sibilant sound (SISS). This is not a word. This is not a sound. This is not anything. It has no place in the crossword puzzle. I had SsSS. That at least, somewhat makes sense. I'll admit that what I had at 34D: Call in place of a nudge (PSST) was PiST, and I knew that couldn't be right, but I went with it for some reason.
Other than that issue, the rest is essentially fine, but filled with multiple blah entries. Such as SSTS, RRR, TKT, TWOUP (never heard of it, and had to guess at the last letter), ARIL.

There are some fun answers, especially in the long acrosses. PHILIPIII is crazy looking. THECREEPS is good. I love POLTROON. It's right up there with "Nimrod" from yesterday. AAAMAP is barely acceptable, but I like the way it looks. 5D: Person with lines (ACTOR) is a cute little misdirect.

So, on the whole, okay, but that section mentioned above ruined it.

- Colum


  1. 0:06:27

    The gimmick (thank you for pointing it out. I finished the puzzle before work and never looked back.) is, indeed, kind of cool, but I am not a fan of the puzzle overall. Never heard of POLTROON, and I dare say it is not a Tuesday word. ("First known use: circa 1529" - last known use? 1535?) I'm with you on SISS - terrible. FRESHETS - hmmm... OOO weak.

    I suppose there are constraints when you set out to have a theme like this (ya think?), and ok, like we said, it's kind of cool, but jeez...

    Favorite crazy-looking fill: TWOUP.

  2. I loved this one. I think we have to accept a few answers that are a bit of a stretch in order to get such a difficult and clever Tuesday. POLTROON is new to me, but I love the word too and may have to start using it. GROSS, FRESHETS, and PITHS--all of which I know--are also pretty tough Tuesday vocabulary. I agree with you, Colum, on SISS. That is the one answer that is just plain wrong. "Sibilant sound" should be either "hiss" or all S's, either three or four. I'm fine with PHILIPIII, AAAMAP, and the becoming-to-frequently-seen tic-tac-toe line. They are all for a good cause.

  3. 11:11
    I didn't mind this puzzle. Lots of great-looking answers. I didn't like SISS (agreeing with everyone else, apparently). I, too, never heard of POLTROON, but the crosses were fine. I thought that there was too much of a clue for VERNE, and of course, I got CERES with no crosses. PITHS is a great word, as is KLUTZ. I knew KNUTE right away, ET59! I thought that FRITZ (48D Lang who directed "Metropolis") was a bit tough for a Tuesday (both the director and movie are unknown to me), but all-in-all I enjoyed the puzzle.