Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wednesday, January 13, 2015, Jeremy Newton

12:25 (FWTE)

I've noticed some feelings of guilt on my part when I don't get this blog post entered until late at night. This is silly on many counts, not the least of which being that Horace told me he really only wanted an entry posted every day. And this counts. But then I have this idea that maybe as many as 25 people are out there, waiting for the blog to post. Counting the seconds. Desperately sitting in front of their computers, obsessively hitting refresh.

Yeah, right.

Anyway, I'm just saying it's time for me to get over myself, and comment on today's puzzle.

I'll start with my two errors. 72A: Currency unit, briefly (ATM). I somehow convinced myself that it was referring to an electrical current, and entered Amp (i.e., brief for ampere?!). And then I even checked the cross at 67D: D.D.E's predecessor (HST). I said Harry S. Truman to myself (note the middle name, which was S, not an initial), and said, yup. HSm. Got it.

It was only when I'd finished and saw 51D: Oil spot? (MUSEUM - very nice clue!). MUSEUp made no sense at all. All the letters worked except the last one. Yet another reason for me to get over myself.

The theme is cute: take a phrase where the second word has THREERS (how great does that look in the grid?) and replace it with a "homonym". Reclue the resultant phrase with something wacky, and there you are. My favorite is definitely 29A: Priest getting what's coming to him? (CLERICALHEIR), both for the silliness of the phrase and the ludicrous nature of the clue. The others are fine, just not as funny (to me, at least).

I was confused by the fact that two of the theme answers have an equal length answer just above or below. It was especially confusing because 14A: Market not to be bullish in? (CHINASHOP) was also a joke answer. I got this one off _H_N____, which I'm actually kind of proud of, and it's why I'm making it the best clue-answer pair of today.

The fill suffers somewhat for the density of the theme, but there's plenty of excellent clues abounding, including 1A: Wraps around the subcontinent (SARIS). Nicely done, taking a tired bit of crosswordese and freshening it up. Good for a B+. 24A: Authors of fiction? (PENNAMES) is a bit of a stretch, but I liked it.

How about 73A: Feeling sexually aroused (RANDY)? Huygens, it's almost too blunt!

I'm mostly pleased with this puzzle.

- Colum


  1. 10:57
    I think this is only the second time since this blog's inception that my time is better than Colum's, and no errors! (I wait until the next morning for the post when Colum is on because I am abed by 7:00 PM most evenings.) Yes, RANDY is almost too blunt, but its association with Austin Powers makes it great on two levels. SARIS was clued better than I've ever seen (I thought it would at least get an A-). BUMASMOKE was my favorite down, but I agree with CLERICALHEIR being the most amusing theme answer. 36A High on hwys. (DUI) was particularly nice, too, I thought. And how about those PATS?

  2. 17:44
    It took me literally forever to fill in the last two Ms of MUSEUM. I couldn't think of MERE, and ATM - which often has a difficult clue - had a doozy of a one today. I did get there eventually, but I probably looked at this, put it down, and came back to it at least four times before I finally finished it. The THREERS (yes, it looks great) thing didn't really sink in while I was doing the puzzle, because all of the first words have at least one R in them as well, and I didn't give the second word enough thought. Oh well... And I guess I'm partial to that last one I solved because Frannie and I often will call a mirror a MERE, after a commercial for a TV that ran incessantly before one of the last Superbowls. It had some kind of mirror technology, and at the end of the commercial, the youngster would say, in a quiet, mysterious way, "It's the 'meers.'"

    So anywho... yes, Colum, my only wish is that the blog stay current. And if an entry is posted during the day that the puzzle comes out, it is current. That said, with your puzzle acuity, and given the fact that the puzzles are released at 10:00pm on the previous day, it seems like you're almost posting the current day's puzzle at a time when you could be posting the next day's puzzle. All you'd have to do would be to double up one day, and then you'd be beating Amy and Rex to the punch! Just an idea. Honestly, I don't care, and having something new to read every morning with coffee is fine with me.

    So, back to the grid. I agree that the two-stacks that involve only one theme answer are strange. I'm not sure I've ever seen that before. I liked SORCERER, and GOAWOL was unusual. RICIN and ADOLF are a bit jarring, but there's a lot of good stuff in here too, so I'm with you on the thumbs up.