Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015, Zachary Spitz


I have a feeling Horace commented on yesterday's puzzle after having finished today's. 16A: Nerve cell conductors (AXONS) and 35D: When the Battle of Normandy started (DDAY). Really? Does Mr. Shortz hold onto these puzzles in order to run them in a row? It's not even close to June 6.

Okay. So this is a cute theme, with one outstanding answer and three passable ones. My favorite is obviously 59A: It's remarkable! (DRYERASEBOARD). That's very clever. I entered 20A: It's striking! (LIGHTNINGBOLT) with just the first two letters in place. 33A: It's unbelievable! (BALDFACEDLIE) is not even a funny twist on the phrase. That being said, I love the actual answer. And finally, 43A: It's breathtaking! (ASTHMAATTACK) I like just because of the AATT in the middle there.

Yesterday, Horace also remarked on a series of 3-letter answers running across. Today's is worse: MPS LOD CHA END. The only thing interesting there was the chutzpah it took to use the airport abbreviation for TELAVIV. Seriously? I got it entirely from the crosses, all of which were fair, but just... no.

1A: "___ you in?" (ARE). Oh dear. I give it a D (or as some wag said recently, a 65). I wasn't fooled by RANDD for once. I didn't want to see IVANA Trump in the grid, any more than I want to think about her ex-husband.

My favorite clue-answer, by default, is 60D: "Lovely ____, meter maid" (Beatles lyric) (RITA). I love that song, and always have. But I hardly needed the parenthetical to get the answer.

VIACOM next to ETRADE. I'm out.

- Colum


  1. 7:11

    Right you are! But I haven't yet seen the Thursday, so I don't know whether this lovely streak continues. The suspense!!

    The whole middle section of ASTHMAATTACK does look pretty awesome, and I agree about the cluing on DRYERASEBOARD. Excellent.

    I didn't recognize this name, so I took a trip over to XWORDINFO, and lo and behold, it's a debut by a college freshman who loves puns! Also, Jeff Chen agrees (as he pretty much has to) that 59-Across by far the best.

    Overall, a pretty decent debut. Toughest clue for me today 17A: One getting the boot? (SKI).

  2. 9:18
    ALOHA! Well, we're all under ten minutes today. Nothing slowed me down except maybe the aforementioned TELAVIV, where I, too, needed a majority of the crosses. I, of course, enjoyed both the clue and answer at 55A Math term usually followed by a subscript number (LOG), and being pond-faring, I enjoy any nautical terminology, such as 70A Sailor's "Stop!" (AVAST). ARE deserves an F, no? That's about as vanilla as it gets, and it's a quote clue, too! In contrast, all of the downs in the NW were great: AISLE, RAKISH and ENIGMA. Both HERB and COIN could have used more colloquial clues, but 26D Close-up magician's prop is fine. I agree with Horace that this is a decent debut, but I think it belongs on a Monday.