Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Tuesday, January 5, 2016, Jim Holland


Sorry about the delay in posting tonight. I just had my first triathlon training class, and it was a doozy! It's only going to get harder from here, but I think I'm going to enjoy it.

Anyways, today's puzzle by Mr. Holland, just like yesterday's, has a theme without a revealer. Maybe I'm more in favor of this than I thought. There isn't really a need for one today. By adding the letter T in front of a common phrase, you get a new phrase that requires wacky cluing to make sense.

My favorite of the four is definitely 26A: Early history of a drafting tool? (TSQUAREROOTS). The clue is silly, the reinterpretation of the phrase is clever. The other three don't reach the same level, but they're all acceptable. I did like the way TTOP, such an annoying piece of crosswordese, gets repurposed in a much more amenable way. It took a while to figure out the theme, and I questioned myself quite a bit when I had TSQ___ at the beginning of 26A.

Almost had a Natick today at the crossing of BIGA and EIGER. I'd never heard of New York's Aqueduct Racetrack. Turns out it's in Jamaica, Queens. So the nickname was even less known, but I guessed it when I reparsed the answer to Big A. Seems a touch tough for a Tuesday.

Otherwise the fill seemed pretty much GOODTOGO. 37D: "Animal Farm," for one (ALLEGORY) is excellent. I didn't like AIRTO - that seems particularly arbitrary. REEDITS is acceptable.

1A: Marital ___ (BLISS) is better than average. I'll give it a B. My favorite pair of clues and answers were 38A: Musical finale (CODA) and 32D: "____ Fan Tutte" (COSI). I like the musical crossing. And also, Mozart.

- Colum


  1. 8:59
    I thought the theme clever, too, with TBALLBEARING being the most amusing to me. I starred the OMIT/EMITS pairing as well as 7D All Set (GOODTOGO). I didn't like REEDITS, though, breaking from Colum there, and EIGER is fairly well-known, no? BIGA, not so much. I agree with the SCORE for BLISS.

  2. 5:32

    It's kind of a "before and after" theme, isn't it? And all the first parts just happen to start with a single T. Odd, really. I guess it would have been slightly more beautiful if there were no other Ts anywhere in the grid, but I'm pretty sure that would have been very bad for the quality of the fill, which does, as pointed out, already include some less-than-great entries. ETUI, MISNAME, REEDITS, SABOT (which Frannie points out, is not really Dutch - they call it a "klomp"), OCS, and BIGA are all kind of lame. I'm a little surprised that you weren't familiar with the EIGER. Perhaps it's time to round out your viewing of Clint Eastwood movies with a screening of "The Eiger Sanction." Always a good time...

  3. By the way, although my previous comment seemed negative, I didn't hate this one. I think the theme is clever and I liked many of the entries - ALLEGORY, GOODTOGO, THICKET, ROUST, LASTLEG, .. and really, MISNAME isn't all that bad. Let's replace that with AGAR in the list above. And "Grant for moviemaking?" (CARY) is cute.