Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sunday, December 27, 2015, Don Gagliardo and Zhouqin Burnikel


Often in puzzles, for me, the kind of clue that is the trickiest to see is the literally descriptive kind highlighted in today's theme, only the clue and answer have been reversed. Kind of. Take 23A: PP (SHOPPINGCENTER) - in a normal puzzle the answer would have been the clue, and then the answer would have been "pees." Well, maybe they wouldn't have had "pees," but you see what I mean. A better example might be 95A: ZZ (JAZZDUET), where the reversal of clue and answer would have given "zees." As Sunday themes go, I thought it was a good one.

The fill was a little choppy in places - AVIANS (21A: Grackles and grebes) and AGELONG (27A: Lasting for years and years) were not favorites - but overall it was decent enough. There were also some nice tricky clues, like the courtroom duo of 59D: Like courtroom witnesses (SWORNIN) and 87D: It's heard at a hearing (ALLRISE). Nice.

My last square today was the cross of SPEE (68A: Historic German admiral Maximilian von ____) and ORLEAN (49D: Susan who wrote "The Orchard Thief"). I figured E was the most likely, but that seems a pretty nasty cross, two obscure names.

1A: Savor, as a drink (SIPON). C. I would have preferred "nurse."
Favorite clue/answer - 33A: Court, for short (RHYME). I love that kind of trickery. Runner-up 2D: Has an inspiration (INHALES). Nice.

- Horace


  1. I actually really enjoyed this theme. I had no idea what was going on after SHOPPINGCENTER and DEADENDS, but got it with NCAAFINALS. My favorite is ONIONRINGS because yum, for one, but also, that's clever! I had one error, at the cross of PEORIA and FARINA. I had put in PEOnIA, and I don't really know why, but it seemed possible. The Little Rascals reference was completely lost on me, so I would never have caught that. I enjoyed the puzzle overall.

  2. FWOE
    The cross of STYNE/FRAY got me, because I didn't check the across and guessed SToNE for 22D "Gypsy" Composer. I loved the theme, too, and thought it very nicely done. All in all, though, this puzzle ran a little short for my taste (28:36) because there were really no terribly tricky areas. I mean, I had hOnkAT instead of TOOTAT down at 115A for a short bit, but LUDDITE fixed that up. SEVENAM is, incidentally, about when I go out for my runs on the weekends at this time of year, since I like it to be light out. ADDLING is a good word, and BECOOL reminds me of Samuel L. Jackson's character in "Pulp Fiction," which is always a nice remembrance. Also, REESE can't be overdone.