Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday, August 16, 2015, Don Gagliardo and Zhouqin Burnikel


The theme today is the past tense. It was overly ambitious, it seems, to try to turn such an inactive topic into an engaging hook. The porch crew (Frannie, ET59, and me) found this one a little too easy and a little too flat. The last square for all of us was the guess of "S" at the cross of ENSOR (49D: Newsman David) (Why not use the Belgian artist?) and GSA (62A: Fed. property agency) ("General Services Association"). ALAS.

On the bright side, we all enjoyed the opening stack in the NW - AFFIANCED (1A: Engaged), RAINDANCE (18A: Pueblo Indian rite), and MINKSTOLE (22A: *Pricey wrap) which is filled with interesting stuff. I enjoyed the nearby ATHEISTIC (29A: Rejecting higher authority?), and who doesn't love an ECLAIR (8D: Patisserie buy)?

We were all slightly surprised by GALILEO (109A: "Two New Sciences" author), as the title led us to expect a more modern author.

Is it weird that BREAKGROUND (122A: *Start of a construction project) is made up of a present tense verb and a past tense verb? And I suppose "Power," "Dog," and even "Kid" could be taken last present tense verbs, too. But that's getting a little too picky, maybe. But then, there's names like DORS, and KNUT, and ESAI, and fill like HBAR, ENNA, and ASES. Overall, meh.

- Horace


  1. I finished with one error here, which I thought was ENSOR/GSA, but turned out to be LANZA/AZERA, where I'd put in AlERA (that's an L). I did not understand the theme until I'd just about finished the whole puzzle. It was a bit of a shrug, but it's nice that every example of a past participle is used as a noun with a separate sense, so that's well done. I liked AWKWARD, a word my daughters use all the time to mean "embarrassing", and when I had lawnWASTE instead of YARDWASTE, there were two words in the grid with 2 Ws separated by one letter. Ah well. Otherwise it was a bit of yawn.

  2. About 40 mins.
    Seems about the typical Sunday difficulty level. I, like Colum, didn't understand the theme too well early on. The NE was the last section to fall for me dut to things like BREL, SEATTLESLEW and even GASGRILL, which should have come a bit sooner, IMO. LANDHO, OBLADI and even SERENADER were nice to see. I needed nearly all of the crosses for the DOG of DOGLEGLEFT. Did anyone else think of Keenan at 132A Very cold (HEARTLESS)? I liked the cluing for YEN (100A Hunger).