Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sunday, January 10, 2016, Patrick Merrell



This was a fun theme. Take a standard statement from a candidate on the campaign trail, and finish it with the unspoken truth. The first long answer, when I finally pieced it together, made me laugh out loud. None of the others were nearly as amusing, although the last one was good also. What's impressive is the smoothness of each answer. Not one felt forced grammatically.

On the other hand, because they're like miniature "quote" style answers, I had to work my way through each one piece by piece, relying on the crosses. That made for a slower solve than typical, but not by much.

On the whole, the fill was reasonably good. I don't like RNAS. SAE is a random fraternity chapter, apparently (Sigma Alpha Epsilon). I have no familiarity with that aspect of college life. The cross with EMBER was my one error, but I have no real excuse, because no one would ever say that aMBER GLOWS.

1A: Advisory panels (BOARDS) is a straight down the middle C. But I liked AAMILNE's entire name in the grid. 79D: Novices (NEOPHYTES) is great. I had ____YTES and couldn't get my mind off of acolYTES, which didn't even fit. Finally I put ONYX in and that made that little section fall.

ARAMIS returns again, as does STDENIS, who was in the first puzzle of the year (I recall because Horace and I were solving the puzzle at the same time).  My favorite clue-answer is 16D: Present day figure (SAINTNICK). When I first put it in, I thought, "That's strange. Christmas was some time ago, so that's hardly in the present." Then I got it. Nice lack of question mark.

Anybody know why a SANDER is a "Tool used in the evening?" Does it have to do with sleeping and the Sandman? Be happy to hear a better explanation than that one. Almost forgot to say how much I enjoyed 92A: Bridge table foursome (LEGS). How absurd that "Bridge" is in the clue at all! As if other tables have more or fewer legs. Excellent.

- Colum


  1. 44:09 (FWOE)
    "Evening" as in smoothing, of wood. Oddly, too, my error was the cross of SAE/EMBER. HULAS and its sister clue at 28A High season in Hawaii (WINTER) bring to mind a nice trip that Sue and I once took. ARAMIS is clued the way I prefer it today. I was able to get STAMOS off of the clue at 90D John of Fox's "Granfathered" because he was just in Howard Stern's studio for a great interview this past week. Anyway, nice, amusing theme, which took a while for me to figure out, but the puzzle timed in right where I like a Sunday. 38D Prepare for the afterlife (EMBALM) is somewhat amusing, and gross, but doesn't quite fit.