Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday, August 23, 2015, Joel Fagliano


Before we get to the review today, we'd just like to express our condolences to the family and friends of Merl Reagle. I had the pleasure of seeing his stand-up comedy act at the ACPT this year, and, of course, of solving one of his puzzles during the tournament. His unexpected death is a great blow not only to those who knew him, but to crossword fans and wordsmiths everywhere. Will Shortz's piece on the man is here.

Today's puzzle by Mr. Fagliano, appropriately but coincidentally, I'm pretty sure, features the wordplay of anagrams as a theme. Popular bands and artists are anagrammed into musically-themed, punny fill. For example, 23A: Alternative band that sounds like every other alternative band? (INDIECLONE) is an anagram of CELINEDION. AEROSMITH is transformed, amusingly, into HIMAESTRO (66A: Greeting to a conductor?). And it's nice that CAROLEKING would actually fall under the category of GENIALROCK (87A: Friendly music genre?). Not bad.

My favorite non-theme clue/answer today is 19A: Spot check? (LEASH). Excellent. 27A: Check time (PAYDAY), 15A: Nothing, slangily (JACK), and 62A: Good deal (LOT) (both missing the preceding "a") were also good. And I liked "Et tu?" being used as a clue instead of fill for a change!

There's the usual amount of "glue" - ESA, BAA, EWE, OSTE, ORO, etc. - but I think it's kept under control. It's not exactly sparkly, but it's decent enough.

- Horace


  1. I enjoyed this one quite a bit. SPOILERALERT and LETTEROPENER are outstanding long downs, both longer than any of the theme answers. Likewise HOCKEYMASK and PARKRANGER. Does PAINTPOT really exist as a term? I didn't like that one nearly so much as Pepper POTTS. And I feel that BAA and EWE are duplicative. Still I came out on the positive side for this one.

    1. Agreed all around. I thought that, too, about BAA and EWE. And about PAINTPOT. I don't think I've heard anyone use that term before. Finally, yes, the long downs are quite good. Maybe I was a bit too negative.

  2. No clues starred today, but the puzzle was enjoyable overall. 108A Sea creatures with beaks (OCTOPI) required all crosses for some reason. Also it was nice to see both STEWIE and LOUIE down in the SW, both from shows I enjoy. I loved 123A Banks with a lot of money (TYRA)...excellent. I agree with Colum on POTTS v. PAINTPOT.

  3. Enjoyed this very much. It played harder than the average Sunday for me, and that's always a good thing. I too starred "Nothing, slangily" and "Spot check?" I thought CYRIL was well clued, as was SIBERIA. How cool is that phrase "epitome of desolateness."? PAINTPOT is indeed bogus, but I feel like I've encountered that in a puzzle before. Nobody has called out MYHAT. Is that really an expression? Actually, I guess I kind of like it. Maybe I'll have to start using that one. Get ready for it on the porch in Maine next year! Excellent Sunday; I enjoyed trying to figure out the anagrams. I also liked how orderly they were, always on the row with the singer or band. Thumbs up.