Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday, August 2, 2015, Matt Ginsberg


I don't usually talk about time on Sundays, but I will just say that I was very close to finishing this in half my average time for a Sunday. Whether that says more about my average or my performance today, I'll leave up to you, Dear Reader, but to me, it felt like it went by quickly. But what about the puzzle?

Nobody loves a circle, and this is not going to help the circle cause. The theme answers have various circles in them, and the circled letters spell out words that are already in the answer. Take SPLITSECOND (25A: Instant), for example. The first S is circled, and then all the letters in the word "second" except the first S, and together they spell out - surprise! - "second!" YAY! Let's look at another one - in TORNTOSHREDS (37A: In bits), the first two letters of "torn" are circled, and then all of the letters of "shreds," spelling out, "to shreds!" Wow.

So let's not talk about the theme anymore. And if you completely ignore it, as I did during my entire solve, you'll be much happier about the whole thing. The theme answers SPLITSECOND and TORNTOSHREDS on their own are quite good. DRIFTAPART, MINCEMEAT, INTERMINGLED, and the rest of the theme answers are all quite good. … wait, wait… I must be missing something, right? Because in UNBROKEN (112A: Whole) the circled letters spell out "Un." Obviously, I'm totally at sea here, so if someone can fill me in on what the theme really is, I'd appreciate it.

Given my inadequacy, I'm going to treat it as the lovely themeless that it is. PUBLICENEMY (3D: Chuck D, Flavor Flav, and DJ Lord, collectively) (oops, I mean 3D: "No. 1" person") is good, OBEISANCES (4D: Acts of deference) is lovely, TWOROOMFLAT (66D: Smallish London lodgings) is fine, and MELIKE (92D: Informal approval) is shockingly amusing. IMIGHT XOUT DIGHT, ORLE, and STAGY if I had my druthers, but I wouldn't want to appear to be too TESTY. Let's look on the bright side - FLIMSY, SCRAMBLEDEGGS, VINYL, and SPOTON are OKAYBYME.

I guess I can call it a wash.

- Horace


  1. The theme is literally interpreting the phrases. Thus, SPLITSECOND splits the word "second" into two parts. UNBROKEN breaks "un" into two. The better ones are MINCEMEAT where "meat" is minced into all its parts, and SCRAMBLEDEGGS, where "eggs" is scrambled around. It's only okay in my book. I think the best part of the puzzle are the NW and SE corners, as you pointed out.

    1. Meh. The theme still leaves me cold, but thanks, I guess that does make it a little better.

  2. Yeah, a "meh" for the theme from this corner, as well. Some of the answers, as Horace has noted, are pretty nice--OBEISANCES is my favorite ("Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he")--but this Sunday was nearly smileless. Only BEDDED gave me a chuckle. I did, however, love DIGHT, as it brought to mind another line by the author quoted above: "Gaily beDIGHT, a gallant knight, in sunshine and in shadow . . ." I also liked the information about ARUBA--I'm always a sucker for geographic knowledge!--and MALI. Can't believe you thought MELIKE was good. Me not like. I don't have much else bad to say about this effort, though. There's not much crap, even among the threes. The whole thing just left me flat.

    1. That's my main exposure to "obeisance," too. "Eldorado" I don't know so well...

      And I was amused by MELIKE mostly because it reminds me of its racially insensitive cousin.

  3. 37:16
    I didn't mind the theme too much, but I didn't like MELIKE since it's not informal, it's just wrong. I enjoyed 6D Tom's partner (SHECAT) and 9D Lush locales? (SKIDROWS), although the plural in the latter isn't the greatest. STAGY is not a good word (49D Excessively theatrical).