Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015, Alan Arbesfeld

0:11:04 (FWOE)

Ugh. I've got to check the crosses. I put in cOLA for 28A: Caffeine nut (KOLA), and never went back to check on TASK (18D: Job). Why would I put in "cola" for that? It's obvious from the clue that they needed that K. It's straigh-up crosswordese! I should know these things! Oh well. I've got start being more careful. Only four months until the ACPT!

So today we've got a space theme, wackily clued. If you know anything about me by now, you know that I'm a sucker for an early week theme with wacky clues, and when you combine that with outer space, well, count me in! What's an "17A: Easy two semesters at school?" A LIGHTYEAR. Who is "25A: Lech Walesa, for one?" A POLESTAR. Guffaw. And don't you love how the other celebrity theme answer is symmetrically placed? REDGIANT turns out to be "51A: Lenin, say?" Not bad.

I take points off for paired answers like LUNA MOTH when the second part comes first, numerically, and you end up hitting a clue like "See 14-Across" right on the second clue. Ugh. I also take off points for such a weak 1A. "Stuck, after 'in'" (AJAM) is pretty bad. I'm giving it a D. No, a D-. And what do we get off of it? Three proper names. It's a long way to go for LIGHTYEAR, but I guess it really is nice to have that as part of the theme. Well... until I actually create a puzzle, I'm going to keep on criticizing freely. Because, as we all know, "criticism is easier than craftsmanship!"

On the brighter side, ACROBAT (57A: One going head over heels?) is pretty nice. And FEISTY (11D: Spirited) is a good word. But I very much dislike ODING (33D: Going too far, in a way) (I would have preferred it be clued as "Feat of Keats" to pair with 16A. Hah!), and there's tons of INT, OBI, OOH, TIA, EXE, and LIRR.

Lastly, I would have preferred "Word after drunk or butt" as a clue for DIAL. Then it might have had a chance. Instead, 22D: It's full of tables for reading (ALMANAC) is my favorite clue/answer pair. Although 52D: Flight destinations? (NESTS) and 44D: Exercise piece? (LEOTARD) are also good (the bottom of the grid is better than the top), they miss out on the top spot because of their question marks.

Great theme, so-so fill. A wash.

- Horace


  1. 17:04 (FWOE)
    Obviously I loved this puzzle's theme, if not the puzzle itself. My error was on the MAHRE/SELES cross, where I'd entered an "a" erroneously. I never heard of the former, and although I knew how to pronounce the latter, I didn't know how to spell it. Other than the theme answers, I didn't love any of the rest of the puzzle. GRAPES was not a great answer for 45D Napa Valley sight (or is the clue not great for the answer?). I put RADIATIONsuiT in at first for 36A and ShoRtRIB in for 9D, which slowed me down just slightly. I thought that IDAHO was a bit specific for 53A, but maybe I don't know enough about that expedition to comment; I mean, maybe they concentrated on that state more than the others. OBI clued as the usual sash could have, instead, acknowledged the upcoming premier of the new Star Wars movie, but alas. I agree about ODIST, and the rating for AJAM.

  2. 6:42
    Simple puzzle for a Wednesday. I enjoyed the theme, as well as 31A: Literary alter ego (MRHYDE) which I wasn't expecting. (Maybe Robert Galbraith for J.K. Rowling? Or Richard Bachman for Stephen King?)