Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015, Michael S. Maurer


What a great Wednesday. The fill is clean, the theme is fun, and any puzzle that has BRA, ORGY, and EROS in it ought to get a high mark, at least from Huygens. Although the term UNITARD is enough to tone down the excitement several levels on its own.

Football! And who isn't excited by the world's number one producer of chronic traumatic encephalopathy? Actually, I am, even if I'll admit to becoming more and more disturbed by the medical news. Because Brady, that's why.

In any case, the theme is taking standard American football phrases and giving them wacky definitions as clues. 17A: Appetizer, usually? (FIRSTDOWN) got us off to a roaring start. And actually, it might be the best of the bunch. 24A: Exile from? (KICKOFF) is only true if you're exiling from Elba, rather than to it. And 50A: Cuba or North Korea? (REDZONE) is okay. 33A: "I am not guilty," e.g.? (DEFENSIVELINE) is good, although not very funny. And 57A: Beauty queen bride, quaintly? (FAIRCATCH) is actually both good and funny, but I didn't need the "quaintly", honestly.

I liked 5D: Madre-y-padre store? (BODEGA), although I needed several letters to remember the term I used most every day when I lived in New York. I very much enjoyed "The Imitation Game", and have always been a sucker for Alan TURING's mind games. I also like 54A: How the spiritual look (INWARD). That's a nice twist.

I don't love EMOTER, ESPECIAL (that E is unnecessary nowadays), or HIREE. But just about everything else is fine with me. 1A: Engrossed (RAPT) is a standard synonym clue with a nice answer. I'll give it a B+.

Can you tell I'm hungry? It's Yom Kippur, and I only ate one meal today. Not exactly a fast, but I'm not exactly observant, so it works.

- Colum


  1. 12:12
    Excellent review. You had me rolling in the aisle. Or rather chuckling in my rocker. Yes, that's right, I do most of the puzzles, and comment on most of the puzzles from my rocker on the porch. In between the times when I have to yell "Git off my lawn!" at the neighborhood riffraff.

    And speaking of that, I liked seeing SHUSH in place of the more common "shh," and thought of ET59 when I filled in "EST_S" and waited for confirmation of the gender. Everybody loves the word PARSE, and a MARTINI! Great clue on the latter. And "Part of a bun" was a tricky clue for TRESS.

    Lastly, wouldn't it have been a nice bit of bonus fill if they could have clued SKEETS with a reference to Renaldo Nehemiah?

  2. p.s. I just Googled Skeets, and was amused and delighted to learn that he was the only four-time winner of TV's "The Superstars."

  3. 21:53
    I was hung up in the SW (again) because I'd entered oNWARD and had BRoGH_ for 42D Intelligent, and being not-so-BRIGHT many-a-time, I just couldn't see it until I finally reexamined the clue for 54A and got INWARD (I wanted skyward, but alas...). Anyway, yes. BRA, MARTINI, ORGY, SAUSAGE, wait...scratch the latter. I always enjoy BELA Bartok (Sue and I recently shared a Sunday evening hot tub with him prior to embarking on the current long run of Beethoven), and SHARK (10D Reason for a beach closing) is timely. ACID (23D Word before test or trip) was great, bringing to mind "The Electric Kool-AId Acid Test" by Tom Wolfe, which I read approximately one century ago. I never heard of either Mr. Skeets or of the show mentioned by Horace.

  4. I still love watching football. It's really pretty tame compared to the gladiator spectacles of Roman times, isn't it? Talk about medical news! How'd you like to have been "Colosseum Doctor" back then, Colum? Anyway, despite my fondness for the pro game, I wasn't crazy about this offering. All of the themers seemed somewhat pedestrian in their cluing and obvious in their answering. I loved one thing about this puzzle, and that is the entry already mentioned by Horace and Huygens. MARTINI. One of my favorite clues and answers of the year. I believe I chuckled outloud once I had the thing.

    1. I'm pretty sure that a "Colosseum doctor's" activities would be similar to those of the "doctor" who acts after a horse has broken its leg.