Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015, Sam Trabucco


Very odd theme today. LION(S)HARE (66A: Almost all ... and a hint to the five circled letters) indicates that the letters of the word "lions" will appear in the five circles, and they will be "shared" by the first and last words in the Across answers. That they are not also "shared" in the Down answers is a bit of a downer, but I guess those answers don't actually have two words, so there's nothing to share. OK. I guess I can accept the "Across only" aspect.

It's interesting to me that I actually tried entering SK(I)NSTRUCTOR (24A: One whose work is going downhill?) and CHICKE(N)OODLE (53A: Campbell's variety) with the double letters before figuring out the theme. I think I finally figured it out with the revealer, and then the others filled in pretty fast. And if I have one main complaint about this puzzle, it's that it played a bit too easy. For me, sub-15 on a Thursday seems a little quick.

Not everything was easy, though. It was a pretty tough clue for EBERT (8D: Friedrich ____, first president of the German Republic) for a change. And RAND (42D: South African money) took every cross. See also: ARIA (37D: Las Vegas casino opened in 2009) and ANSE (72A: Addie's husband in "As I Lay Dying") respectively. But IDIOTPROOF (11D: Easy-to-use) was a gimme, and SEEIFICARE (29D: "Do what you want") only took a cross or two.

Overall, though, as I look back at this, I like it. The fill is decent, and I enjoyed several of the clue/answer pairs, like 45D: Matter of interpretation (INKBLOT), 54D: "____ me" (HUMOR), and DRSEUSS (9D: Source of the line "There is no one alive who is you-er than you!") took way longer than it should have, because I was scared of the odd letter combinations for a while.

In honor of the German Republic's first leader, I'll give it a thumbs up. Not way up, but up.

- Horace


  1. 17:16
    I agree that it was a bit easy for a Thursday and that I, too, was originally distressed about the double letters not appearing in the down answers, but I enjoyed the puzzle overall. I tried, with no good explanation, DRSpock instead of DRSEUSS at first, and agree that this should have been filled in, correctly, right off the bat. Funny that 33D Father figure (POP) has a double O in there for the across that makes another word if used on the down (unlike any of the other doubles). I starred 23A Number of monosyllabic U.S. state names (ONE) since it refers to the home state of Horace's eldest sibling. I also starred 39A Sign at the front of some bars (CLEF) because of its great clue. 12D Film unlikely to have a costume designer? (PORNO) required no crosses and 48A ___ change (OIL) took two crosses! I will probably not comment tomorrow or Saturday as we'll be away in sunny NJ for the weekend, but we'll see.

  2. 12:07
    I guess the theme is okay. I didn't love it. It should really be "shared 'LIONS'", not "lion's share". But I liked the rest of the puzzle reasonably well. CLEF is an excellent clue, for sure, Huygens. Kind of funny that CLEFT is in there too.