Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015, Tom McCoy


Interesting theme today. All the theme answers use only letters that appear the same when viewed in a mirror, or, put another way, they exhibit SELFREFLECTION (11D: Activity on Lent or Yom Kippur ... or a quality of every letter in the answer to each starred clue) (What a pity that the word itself does not exhibit it). And it's only fitting that they should appear vertically, so that their shared quality should be better appreciated. As answers, they're all decent - good even. I like the irreverence of TOMAYTOTOMAHTO (3D: *"Same difference"), and the colloquialism of THATAWAY (38D: *Where "they went," in old westerns). So thumbs up for the theme.

There's a lot of theme material today, and many of the crosses hit two or three of the theme answers, so I guess it should come as no surprise that we see a word neither Frannie nor I have ever encountered before - PANGOLIN (20A: Scaly anteater).

Let's talk for a minute about the PANGOLIN, shall we? First of all, just look at it! It's positively prehistoric! But it's a mammal. The only scaled mammal. Second, it's about the size of a house cat, and its tongue can be longer than its body - about 15 inches! Freaky. It is also, according to one source, the most hunted and trafficked animal on Earth. The scales, meat, and blood are apparently prized in Asia. Some say they have healing/medicinal properties. As a result, it is listed on many endangered lists, except that no one really knows for sure how many are left in the wild. So thanks, Mr. McCoy, for bringing this little guy to our collective attention!

After that, I don't have much to say. Glancing at the grid just now I see such GLORIOUS answers as MIASMA (22A: Unpleasant atmosphere), MAHIMAHI (56A: Fish also known as a dorado) (also did not know that!), TOEHOLDS (41A: Points of entry), and STACHE (50A: Something just under one's nose, slangily). Tons of threes, but I don't care. I even enjoy the crossing of OMAHA and TOPEKA.

I declare this an excellent Wednesday.

- Horace


  1. 6:09
    A strange Wednesday indeed, but that's like the pot calling the kettle black. To add to the weirdness, it's a 16 x 14 grid. There are a whopping 32 3-letter answers! One of them is clued as the reversal of another. GLORIOUS is clued by Kim Jong-Un, which is painful. On the other hand, STACHE is excellent. And I love TOMAYTOTOMAHTO. WHATAHOOT! Anyway, I liked it just fine.

    1. I didn't even notice the slightly squat stature of the grid! Thanks for pointing that out.
      And jeez, nice time! The ACPT next year is in very early April. Just FYI...

  2. 12:18
    I didn't notice the oddly shaped grid, either, and I've never heard of a PANGOLIN. I wonder if Tng or Richard have ever tried eating, drinking or wearing any parts of one. I believe, though, that "dorado" has been previously referenced in a NYT puzzle, but I'd never have gotten MAHIMAHI without a couple of crosses regardless. HARPY was nicely clued (51D Monster encountered by Aeneas), and I agree that the cluing of GLORIOUS is painful, but it crosses LUAU, which reminds me of Hawai'i, which is, indeed, GLORIOUS, so I'll overlook it. OUTWITHIT (31D *"Stop hemming and hawing!") may be one of the top five quote clue/answers that I've seen.