Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015, Tracy Gray


The revealer is POTHOLES (60A: Road hazards … four of which are illustrated literally in this puzzle), and it took me a little while to realize - after I had solved the puzzle - that the As have fallen down below the hole. I thought that they had just been swallowed up into the hole, but then why wouldn't they still work for the Downs? But no, they fell. It's still odd, though, that they are just parts of other words down there, and why is it always the letter A? I'm not sure how this could have been better, because you can't really have four unchecked As… and I guess the Down answers couldn't be a part of the theme, because what would the A have fallen into? Still, I think the whole thing is weird. There. I said it. Also, I think APOTHEC[A]RYSSHOP (36A: Place for pre-20th century medicines) is poor.

I thought something was definitely odd at 14A: Recognition from the Academy (OSC[A]RNOD, but I didn't get the trick until 46A: "How to Win Friends and Influence People" writer (DALEC[A]RNEGIE. - Wait a minute, I see now what's going on! The middle is falling out of the word "CAR" in each theme answer. I knew there had to be something more. How embarrassing. Well, that makes it a little better, but I'm still not totally convinced it was worth it.

The NE was where I ended today. I didn't know TOTIE (12D: Funny Fields) (never heard of her) or SNELL (13D: Part of a fishing line to which the hook is attached) (might have once heard this, but didn't remember it), and UNADON (16A: Japanese dish whose name means, literally, "eel bowl") took a long while to come to me, even though I immediately thought of "unagi." Oh well. Eventually I got there. I think it was IDIOM (11D: "Dark horse" or "bring to light") that finally did it for me.

So now that I get the theme, it's ok. 1A: [I crack myself up] (LOL) isn't terrible. How 'bout a B- for that. But overall, I guess I just didn't love it.

- Horace


  1. 35:33
    What, you're awake? My last entry was the "O" in TOTIE, because I'd never heard of the person, either, but I assume she's humorous. UNADON rang a faint bell, but I didn't know whether it would be an "a" or and "o" so I waited until the end. TAINT could have been clued more grossly. I liked the clues for SLOE, ORCAS and BOSUN, often seen in crosswords, but generally clued less interestingly. I though the theme was OK, but until I read the above review, I didn't realize why the missing letters were all As. I knew there was something up with 14A Recognition from the Academy (OSC) because there was no reason for an abbreviation, and, due of that, the whole thing slowly dawned on me. It also took me awhile to reluctantly remove cobrAS from 10D and enter the correct MAMBAS. Thumbs up from this end.

  2. 10:43
    Yeah, I knew something was up with 14A as well. When I saw 15A, I knew it would continue across. I wanted to put the entire "car" in the POTHOLES, but that would be one mighty big pothole. In any case, the theme is really not that great. Huygens, I too took far too long to replace "cobras" with MAMBAS. And the crossings of TOTIE, UNADON, and SNELL were repulsive. So, I am going to say no to this puzzle.

  3. Well, we got this one today on Thanksgiving and did it together with grandpa. I didn't mind the missing letters but it did take awhile to get. I think we missed OscarNOD. Everything else was right I hope !


  4. We just did this one today (Thanksgiving). I knew Totie Fields, thanks to my many afternoons watching Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, and Hollywood Squares. She died in 1978, back when Horace was still watching Mr. Rogers.

    Ken K got D'Amato. Matt knew Carnegie, but threw everybody off with Muslim instead of Semite. The use of the dark spaces was quite disturbing to me. I had to take a break after seeing the lack of a clue for the word in the middle of the second row. It was just too much for me.

    The start of this puzzle was delayed after Aunt Shirley and I got the paper at the 7-11 and then discovered that it didn't contain Section F. We had to go back and get another paper!

    So, now we know what a snell knot is.