Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tuesday, October 20, 2015, Sam Buchbinder


Roulette is the game today. Themed answers feature the words "black," "red," "even," and "odd," and the word "roulette" runs around the center square. Nice enough. The theme answers even give the impression of a clockwise spin, which is, I'm guessing, the direction of spin on a roulette table. So the theme is fine. Not too intrusive, and well executed.

1A: Genesis brother (ABEL) is uninspired (C-), but the rest of the top of the grid is pretty good. BLACKGOLD (17A: *Oil, informally) brings to mind the Beverly Hillbillies, which is always a good thing, and the chunky NE corner contains the equally nostalgic MIXTAPE (11D: Personal music compilation). The equally chunky SW is maybe the shakiest spot, with ANIN atop SANA and TINIEST (41D: Like the pinky compared to the other fingers) running through them. Doesn't "tiniest" imply that all the fingers are tiny to begin with? And maybe they are, compared to a Giant Sequoia, but compared to one another, they're all pretty much the same. "Smallest," sure, but "TINIEST?" Hmph.

I like STRETCH (23D: Warm up before exercising) and OPULENT (25D: Lavish), but TIO, TOA, ETTE, ECON, and TIPI (30A: Home on the range: Var.) is a pretty high price to pay. I guess the compromise really starts with the roulette wheel in the center, but geez, THATS a lot of LEAD dragging this grid down.

It's kind of a split decision. The chunky corners are nice, but the middle is tortured. I don't know, let's just call it a wash. A slightly dirty wash.

- Horace


  1. 4:28
    Seemed a little easy for a Tuesday. I don't love that the across theme answers are paired with an equally long non-theme answer. A lot of 7-letter answers here. And BYTE mocks me in the SE corner. Mocks, I say, like a mean mocking mocker person.

    1. Speaking of BYTE, and BIT... last weekend I argued with Huygens, claiming that a byte was 1024 bits. D'oh! That's a kilobyte, of course. So... does that make you feel better?

    2. HA! … no, actually. That really happened. And I wish it hadn't. Also, and I'm not sure if this will help or not, but I also entered ONEbit yesterday….. but I fixed it when the crosses didn't work. :)

  2. 8:44
    I agree with Colum: this was, if I remember correctly, 9 seconds easier for me than Monday's offering. And Horace, that's an unfortunate definition, mathwise, of a kilobyte (should be 8000 bits, but I guess computer geeks don't worry about such details). As I mentioned in ME, my Sinclair ZX81 had a whopping 8 kb of ram with no internal storage capacity. Anyway, this puzzle was a bit weak. I figured Horace wouldn't like the circles in the middle. I starred SEXTS (of course), a practice of which I've never been on either the sending or receiving end, and 35A Feature of Rome's Pantheon (DOME) because it reminded me of our trip to Italy and because it rhymes with Rome. Also, 8D 20, for 1/4 and 1/5, e.g.: Abbr. (LCD), because it's awesome.