Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015, Victor Barocas and Tom Pepper

5:32 (FWOE)

Hey, I was just talking about how my mother used to own a VESPA when she was in college! So 1A: Italian scooter brand was a gimme, and a quick entry into the puzzle. I'll give it a B+ for a cool word and the nostalgia.

So my error was silly. I put in ARArAT for 54D: 1994 Peace co-Nobelist (ARAFAT). I recognized something was wrong when I finished 65A: even before I put in the last A in TARE. But I didn't figure it out until afterwards, so there's your error.

This is a pretty darn good theme, actually. I like that we get two 16-letter answers in this 16x15 size grid. It's refreshing to get the entire OTOLARYNGOLOGIST instead of your typical ENT. And 51A: Hard rubber, maybe (MASSAGETHERAPIST) is a quality clue and answer. So the revealer is even better with its silly pun (WIZARDOFAAHS). I don't love PYROTECHNIST, putting it in with a wince even as I knew it had to be correct. But that's a small price to pay.

During solving, the fill felt smooth overall. ILLUMINATI is a good entry, although the clue is overly verbose. OPENSDOORS is not great. I liked ATTICA and MYRTLE. And EDAM is always a happy image. 9D: Risky way to buy a used car (ASIS) is a new and clever way to clue that bit of crosswordese.

Of course, now I look more closely, the more I find that I didn't like. Maybe we shouldn't be parsing these puzzles so closely? On the other hand, what then is the point of this blog?

Anyway, I'm just going to note that ITERS should be "itinera" and leave it at that.

- Colum


  1. 5:24

    What indeed... and yes, "itinera." Hah! Perhaps that's what a NYT Crossword blog is all about. If they can get ATRIA right, and TETRA, and ATTICA... :) ...

    I didn't mind OPENSDOORS, even though it does use two somewhat gratuitous esses, and just today I passed with flying colors a "Workplace Diversity" test, so PROFILER was fresh in my mind. Heh.

    I, too, love the theme. So fresh! Pyrotechnist Googles up ok, and it has the alternate definition of "One who demonstrates a brilliant display, as of rhetoric or wit, or of virtuosity in the performing arts," on one site I looked at, so I guess we'll let that stand.

    I'm happy to have the image of your mom on a VESPA during her college years. Perhaps one of her granddaughters will do the same.

  2. I too liked the VESPA start. In fact, that whole NW corner was strong, what with SERF, PROFILER, ATTICA, and AFFIX. And I'll make it 3 for 3 on loving the theme. All three were great, and the revealer was tremendous. Of course, I thought of Colum when I entered 29-Across (I know that's not your specialty, but I figured you would know it immediately.) I'm with Horace on OPENSDOORS. Like it, mostly because of the way it's clued. I agree with all of the good fill pointed out by Colum in his antepenultimate paragraph. Also enjoyed OPIUM, ARMADA, AGONIES, ICEMAN, OYSTER, TAMALE, and the nostalgia of EXPO. Itinera would be a really deep cut Latin plural, and not just for a Tuesday. What's the story with iter, anyway? Some sites define it as a journey rather than a road. I know via also means road. In any case, I give this one an A. The few weak short answers--GPS, ATF, ENYA, ISP--are more than made up for by the exceptional Tuesday theme and sparkling longer fill.

  3. 10:36
    I agree with all of the above, but will add my one star: 59A Book of the Bible between Lev. and Deut. (NUM) which was, ironically, one of my least favorite books of the Bible.