Friday, September 11, 2015

Thursday, September 10, 2015, Tracy Gray


Surprise, it's Horace! Colum is a busy man, and when he gets busy it can be a matter of life and death, so I'm filling in for the Thursday review. Sadly, however, I didn't particularly love this SPILLTHEB/EANS theme. It seems somewhat random in its placement, which wouldn't be so bad if it were just rebuses or something, but when answers turn a corner, I like to see it happen in a regular way, like every time there's a black square above and to the right, or in every corner. And speaking of corners, the NW was completely blank for me until the very end, and part of the reason is that I kept trying to think of a kind of steak that ended with the name of a bean... no dice.
And let's talk about that NW corner. PARLEY (14A: Effort to resolve a dispute), ALSOP (4D: Old newspaper columnist Joseph), ERIC (3D: ____ Church, country singer with the #1 hits "Drink in My Hand" and "Springsteen"), and those very odd clues for SECONDS (20A: Not starter-level), TARE (2D: Weigh station factor), and SYNDROME (6D: Doctor's diagnosis). Sheesh! It was just not at all in my wheelhouse. Still, I think I broke in when I gave up and put STEAKS in.

And in other places we were given such gimmes as KASPAROV (18A: 1996-97 Deep Blue opponent) and PORTFOLIO (24A: Group of investments), both of which I enjoyed, and I also liked HERETIC (60A: Galileo, for one), MYSELF (9D: Yours truly), OBSCENE (42A: Bleep-worthy), and PINGPONG (64A: Game whose name is derived from its sound). But then there's ORACH (26D: Leafy plant also called mountain spinach) (really?), OVA, UVAALAR, EOLITH... DOS was saved by its clue "52A: First of two columns in a fashion magazine."

Well, I don't know, it's not all bad, but it just didn't do it for me. Probably Colum would have given a kinder review.

- Horace


  1. 9:26
    Thanks Horace for picking up the slack! See tomorrow's blog entry for my explanation. This puzzle was fine, but would have been better if in some way the bean names could have been hidden in a different down answer (like if it had been FORDPI/NTO).

    1. Hey, I didn't even realize that OHS/NAP was a theme answer!

  2. 21:46
    Plus there were too many names, even though it didn't slow me down too much: OLDN/AVY, KASPAROV, NORA, LARA, ALSOP, KEENON, ACURA, HERMES, BETHESDA, LANAI, JFK, FORDP/INTO, ERIC, ORACH, DCON and HILO (did I miss any?). I did like the LANAI/HILO pairing, though; it reminds me of a nice trip that I took with Sue once, even though we didn't go to either place. We were on the Kona coast of the Big Island and saw Lana'i only off the coast of Maui and from our hotel porch on Moloka'i. The theme was OK, and there were some nice parts to the puzzle, like 27D Ones that are all ears? (COBS) and those clue/answers already mentioned above. Dislike: 63D Dermatologist's concern (CYST). I type this from the ME porch.

  3. I enjoyed this very much. Very clever and original theme. Liked all of the long fill mentioned by Horace in his penultimate paragraph. BLUEHEN was also great, partly because our first cousin was an athletic star there. Excellent, if slightly too easy, Thursday.