Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday, November 8, 2015, Tracy Gray


This is an odd bird of a puzzle. There are nine theme answers, each one containing a repeated set of three letters, one of which is dropped, thus the three-peat of the title. The idea is fine, and there are a couple of answers I liked okay. Although I would have been more impressed if the three-letter kernel had crossed over words. Instead, in each case, it's contained within one of the words, such as CONANTHEBAR[BAR]IAN.

Four of the answers involve geographic locations. By far the best clue of the themes includes one of these, namely 57A: Rose buds? (CIN[CIN]NATIREDS). That's outstanding cluing. All of the other clues are unfortunately straightforward. 33A: Bringer of peace between nations (ENT[ENT]ECORDIALE) is odd for a couple of reasons. First, because nobody ever uses that entire phrase to describe a state of treaty between two nations. Second, because the original usage came about after England and France created a treaty at the end of the 19th century which, in about 20 years' time, led to England coming into WWI on the side of the French instead of the German's, their natural ally due to royal bloodlines. So... ironic.

Anyway, I did not particularly enjoy the solving of this puzzle. It felt like a slog through much of it. JOANN and LEANNE. ION and IOU. BIC and LISSE (although I'm sure Frannie and Horace were all over that last one, given their Nederlandse leanings). ATILT (ugh!). 1A: Pushovers (PATSIES) is pretty funny, given the fact that the Patriots are 8-0. I actually liked that one okay. I'll give it a solid B+.

56A: 65 or so (DEE) gave me huge amounts of trouble. I didn't get the clue until just now. And ELENI was an educated guess, because who is Nicholas Gage? Apparently, a Greek-American journalist and memoirist. Speaking of hitherto unknown words, SEHNA was at least entirely inferrable through its crosses, because otherwise I'd have had no idea. SAMARRA crossing MASSON and AGNATE was rough, though. Oh, and can we please remove UIES (or "ueys") from the crossword lexicon?

On the other hand, I enjoyed the Annie Hall reference with 99A: "Well, ____-di-dah!" (LAH). and 118A: How some people break out on Broadway (INSONG) was fun. Probably my favorite clue-answer pair was 94A: Unhurriedly (ATLEISURE). I like that the adverbial -ly is missing from the answer.

Anyway, it wasn't as much fun as I wanted it to be, so there.

- Colum

1 comment:

  1. I actually figured out the theme pretty quickly, but I agree that it seemed sloggish. I liked the double "ass" in 66A Jason Bourne and others (TRAINEDASS[ASS]INS), and OXEN next to CHEETA was nice, and who doesn't like a reference to MAUNA or to the constellation NORMA? USEDPOT was a bit literal, though. MASSON went in fast for me; I can still hear Orson Welles wheezing that line out on TV ads.