Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015, Peter A. Collins


Quintuplets of 2-letter syllables! Tricky parsing and kooky definitions! Yes, I had fun with this. I got the idea with 27A: Let someone's father borrow this Arp or that Duchamp? (LENDADADADADA), which is, however, the least successful of the bunch, in my view. I think the fact that "dada" is used as discrete words twice makes it weaker than the others.

Conversely, 46A: Statement from the proud snake as its eggs were hatching? (IAMAMAMAMAMBA) works both from a humor perspective, and also from a cleverness perspective, as the 2-latter syllable "am" flips around between different words, only being discrete in the first instance.

Anyway, I had fun figuring out the phrases, but that's not all that's nice about this grid. The long downs are numerous and quite long. I think it's interesting that SMOKEALARMS (I liked the clue, although the verb to noun switch was not hard to see through (8D: Signals to leave?)) and PHOTOALBUM (this clue I didn't love, and it was equally transparent, although I had to work to figure out the second part of the answer (I tried "booth first (11D: Where to get in your best shots?))) have to have the same frame to work, namely __O__A___M due to the theme answers they each cross.

The same is not true for the other pair of long down answers, NEXTINLINE (very nice clue (29D: Like Charles vis-a-vis Elizabeth)) and SANTAMONICA (clue was completely unhelpful to me (I've never watched "Three's Company" (24D: "Three's Company" setting (are you enjoying all these nested parentheticals? (I'm going to stop now.)))).

There's also HIATUSES, which I had difficulty seeing, because I'd automatically put in AGRo. I see now that's pretty much always going to be incorrect, so maybe I'll change my autopilot on that one. I find it very weird that I couldn't place FINN, even though I felt the quote had to be by Twain. I was stuck on Tom Sawyer. Even after I put it in, I couldn't get the Huck part of it.

1A: Not much, but better than none (SLIM) doesn't seem quite right. I wanted "some", which feels more apt based on the clue to me. The actual answer feels like it needs a reference to "a chance" in order to work. I give it a C-.

- Colum


  1. I see now that I've misparsed a theme answer. I had read it as "Lend a Dada dada" instead of "Lend a Dad a dada". That's a little better.

    1. You could probably have just altered the post. No one would be any the wiser! :)

  2. 18:24
    I wanted "Some" too for 1A, but I couldn't get anything else to work up there, so I took it out before handing it over to Frannie, who promptly put it back in. Oh well...

    Loved the theme today. It almost seems like Mr. Shortz is punishing me for saying I'd be happy if every Thursday contained a rebus. The last two have been non-rebus puzzles that I've really enjoyed. And yes, I think this does belong on Thursday, because the theme is just that wacky.

    It seems like Mr. Collins just had a late-week puzzle that I enjoyed quite a bit. Yes, it was on September 11th. I used to think that there was always a month between puzzles by the same constructor. Hmmm... I wonder if that's changed. I wonder if now is a good time to submit a puzzle of my own, because maybe the supply is running thin... Then again, if I have to live up to these standards, it might take me a while to get something ready...

    Where was I? I liked the clue for ADAM (Garden party?) (question mark ok by me in this one), the MAHER quote is amusing ("It's all been satirized for your protection"), "Instant ___" is a tough clue for TEA, and I wanted "topSEED" for ONESEED. And aren't BULBS more of a thing one plants in the fall, so that they bloom in the spring?

    Loved the clue for DOGSTAR (Sirius), as I'm sure Huygens will, and "Ringing endorsement?" is excellent for IDO. Overall, I loved it.

    And one last thing - in his last published puzzle, this constructor got his last name into the grid. In this one, he gets his first. Nice touch.

  3. 43:43
    It was also nice that Mr. Sellers was the reference for PETER. I also loved DOGSTAR and its clue. I thought that, of the theme answers, TONTOTOTOTOTOME and THISISISISISAID were the better of the four. I starred 39D Breaks (HIATUSES) as great all-around, and because it gave me the most trouble. Nice that RIBS is directly over ADAM with PETER in the grid, too. Maybe it's in honor of the Pope's visit; Viva il Papa!

  4. Great Thursday. I love silly stuff like this. Maybe Collins wants to become a Hitchcock of sorts in crosswords. Wonder what the "A" stands for.