Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday, September 20, 2015, Jason Mueller and Jeff Chen


I love this idea! Take famous fictional or real-life individuals who are known for wearing certain kinds of hats, and then put the type of hat above their names. There wasn't much mystery to the theme: I knew what they were getting at at 25A and 28A, but since I couldn't recall CALAMITYJANE (I was stuck with Annie Oakley, which fortunately didn't fit), I had to wait until 23A: Fictional archaeologist (INDIANAJONES) to get my first theme entry.

Maybe the theme was a little on the easy side: once you got the individual, the hat was a gimme. With the notable exception of CHARLESDEGAULLE and his KEPI. I always forget that type of hat. If I had any complaint about the theme, it would be that the people chosen are fairly old hat at this point.

Uh, sorry.

But really, how about Justin Timberlake for FEDORA? How about Pharrell and whatever that kind of hat is called? Actually, I can't even figure it out after doing some rudimentary Google research. Or Daft Punk and those Power Ranger helmets? Okay, maybe it's a little bit more difficult to get contemporary hat-wearers than I thought.

The fill is FAIR, with some nice bits here and there. 1A: Just is a straightforward thesaurus clue and answer. It's nothing much. I'll give it a C+. Leopold AUER and ALLA breve are classic classical music crosswordese which most longtime solvers wouldn't flinch at. AGOUTIS, NOOR, TSR, AORTAE (annoying one, that), REATA... There's a lot of this stuff.

IMDOINGOK (5D: "Been better, been worse") is a nice entry. AFRIKANER is also a good word. We were just talking about GENX (which I belong to), and how silly it is to assign names and characteristics to generations. I like the way the entry looks in the grid.

84D: Discordant, to some (UNKEYED) is not correct, in my opinion. What they really mean, I think, is atonal. Not having a key assigned does not say anything about the music. For example, Erik Satie's music has no key assigned, but it's far from discordant (think Gymnopedie). Meanwhile, Hindemith's music always has a key assigned, but it's quite discordant, typically. Kind of funny that the answer is right next to 86A: Like Mandarin or Cantonese (TONAL).

Anyway... It was fine, but not great, sort of typical for a Sunday.

- Colum


  1. Yeah... I agree that this is kind of "Sundayish," but I might put it a little below average. REATA is terrible. Isn't it usually "riata?" Not that that would be any better.

    Pharrell's hat is kind of like a Canadian Mountie's hat, which I just learned is called a "Campaign hat" by Wikipedia. Huh.

    My favorite themer is CHEFBOYARDEE and his TOQUE. So unexpected!

    Interesting analysis of UNKEYED. And while we're geeking out, I'd like to call on Jaques Pepin, or any other authority, to chime in on the idea of CONSOMME being clued with "Something cooks put stock in." I would argue that a consommé is nothing more than a clarified stock, so "put stock in" doesn't really make sense.

    Anyway... we didn't love it. Too much crosswordese.

  2. 59:36
    I thought this was an OK Sunday, running a bit longer than usual for me. The SW gave me the most trouble. I agree with Horace about CHEFBOYARDEE. I loved ANNEALS (32A Touhens, as metal) and 76A Bugs, e.g. (BUNNY). I also liked seeing COSMO Kramer referenced, but I'll bet Horace and Frannie didn't.