Friday, January 8, 2016

Friday, January 8, 2016, Peter A. Collins

22:26 (FWOE)

There's some awfully good stuff in here, but somehow I didn't really love it. I'm a bit at a loss to explain why. I think it might be simply that it was the end of a long day, and I had to struggle with it. More's the pity.

I broke in, promisingly enough, with 4D: "Henry V" battle setting (AGINCOURT). That gave me YANNI, COSMO, LIEU, and ALARM, but no more love in that area.

I had to skip to the NE, where POSH led to 12D: Who wrote "There is no sin except stupidity" (OSCARWILDE). Good clue, excellent to have the full name in place. I was, of course, instantly reminded of the Monty Python sketch where George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, and James MacNeill Whistler compete to say the wittiest lines to the Crown Prince.

The NE has WSW, ODER, and ASTO to hold together the set of long downs. It's also unfortunate that ASTO crosses PASTO, which was, BTW, where my one error came about. I had PASTa crossing SHaRTO. I know it was wrong, but forgot to go back to fix it. As it turns out, 24A: Plot element? (SHORTO) is referring to the vowel O. I did not parse it correctly.

Perhaps it was this aspect that made me not love the puzzle. There are a number of great words, but in exchange, there's more than the usual amount of crosswordy stuff necessary to make it work. 30A: Bounty work? (ABSORPTION) - excellent. SSR, PSI, SEW, EEC - not so great.

IDIDMYBEST, great. 15A: Pet project for a 14-Down (DOGGIEDOOR) - cute as all get out. RONA, EGON, SRS. Humph.

Also weird to have the mini-theme of Broadway musicals that were made into movies, although it's interesting that DREAMGIRLS and JERSEYBOYS have the same number of letters and the symmetry of the gender references. I'm not rating 1A as it's part of that theme.

Couldn't ARGOS have been clued with something else? My initial thought was the one-hundred eyed giant of Greek myth; turns out he was Argus. Darn.

I wanted to like it more, I really did.

- Colum


  1. 56:50 (FWOE)
    When, oh when, will I stop being fooled by 24A-type clues?? I actually had S_ORTO crossing S_IPS, and I even had SEA at 23D, but I was thinking of "plot" in the wrong way: garden, cemetery, play. I couldn't parse correctly, either, and these were all wrong, of course. Anyway, I wasted a great deal of time there and finally entered a "k" (skipper shortened to SkIPS?) and got the "Puzzle Completely Filled In" box. Other than that, I liked this puzzle OK. LIEU had a nice clue, and I got RONDO right away. I didn't love HEATENGINE, but LACERATED was nice, as was MOVES (34D Romeo's repertoire) and VET (42A Professional fixer) crossing NET. As a final note, Sue and I are very careful with cheese now because of RENNET, which is made of veal stomach lining (gross) unless it specifies "vegetable rennet" or something similar.

  2. 40:34

    There's too much to give up when you start worrying about RENNET, that's my feeling. Non-animal rennet is, I understand, becoming more widespread, but I'm not giving up European cheeses over squeamishness.

    I really liked the symmetry of the first and last Across clues, and getting OSCARWILDE off the clue put me in a good mood for much of the solve. I needed a few crosses for AGINCOURT and POCAHONTAS, but I really liked those entries, too. Didn't love the pluralizing of ANOINTINGS, and PASTO is a real stretch, but overall I still liked it.

  3. I'm with Horace on the cheeses. Although I guess I could say the same about an occasional burger or steak...