Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015, Timothy Polin


One is always on one's guard on a Thursday, but today everything seemed to be going along pretty well until I got to "35D: Flynn of film," and there were only three letters. Something, was definitely up, but what? Well, it didn't take long to realize that the classic crosswordese [ER]NES (29A: White-tailed eagles) could be made with that same "ER" that was missing from Mr. Flynn's name. And DIN[ER] was much better than "DIN" as an answer to (28A: Greasy spoon). Soon I got STUMBLINGBLOCKS (36A: Obstacles seen four times in this puzzle's completed grid?) and it all made perfect sense. Er, er, er, er – what I mean is, I got the trick, and I like it!
Some may find it unfortunate that SHO[ER] (4D: Worker at a stable) is a part of the theme, and NETH[ER] is somewhat oddly clued with "19A: Infernal." The two words evoke one another, I guess, but I'm not sure I'd call them synonyms. I kind of like [ER]IEPA (59A: City ENE of Cleveland, OH), however, both because I originally just entered "Erie" there, and because the resulting "IEPA" is crazy looking. GLASSSLIPP[ER] (56A: Something lost and returned in a fairy tale), too, looks great with its three Ss and two Ps.

The fill was pretty clean all around. It had its share of ugly-ish small stuff, like SMU, TET, SLS, ESS, ISM, RCA, UNA... and who the heck is CIARA? Speaking of singers, though, it must have been at least a consideration to clue both 13A and 14A with the same "Blues chanteuse," but maybe that would have been too tough, I don't know. Sometimes I think that with a rebus, the clues are lightened up a bit to give people more of a fighting chance.

Overall, I had a good feeling about this. Maybe it's just because it's Thursday and I got a rebus, or maybe it was the spirit of the cluing. Things like "49D: Order out?" (DEPORT), 7D: Was an errant driver? (SLICED), and even "38D: Like the core of the sun" (ULTRAHOT). It's a somewhat arbitrary phrase, but I didn't mind it. It's funny because it's true!

1A: Young wolves (PUPS) - C. Utterly normal.
Favorite clue/answer 32A: Succession within an ethnic group? (AEIOU). Excellent, and in order!

- Horace


  1. ~30 minutes
    I forgot to time it after 16:09, but I'd already figured out the theme, so it went relatively smoothly after that. I never heard of CIARA, and I wasn't sure of its cross PIETAS, but the latter was fair enough. "Salubrious" is a great word, but it held me up in the NE. I very rarely don't enjoy a Thursday puzzle. In fact, I quite look forward to them for the most part. MELBA toast, OAHU (great movie referenced) and 64A "It" (MOJO) were all excellent, in addition to the clues mentioned by Horace. Favorite theme answer? [ER]OTICARTIST, of course, but I suppose [ER]ECT could be a close second.

  2. 14:37, although I finished with 2 errors: I'd put EstA in for ELLA and, while I knew it was wrong, I forgot to check it before entering the last square. Anyhoo, I'm going to say that while I love the hidden ER's, I have a problem with the revealer. Shouldn't it be "stuttering blocks"? On the other hand, how amazing is it to have all of those theme answers (sixteen of them!) and still have space for AXISOFEVIL, ANNESEXTON, HYGIENIC, and ULTRAHOT? Thumbs up.