Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Wednesday, January 6, 2016, Jules P. Markey


Aha! A crossword for the librarians among us. Or anybody who enjoys the Oxford English Dictionary. I was mildly disappointed that the OED crosses were replicated four times in the puzzle, rather than choosing a different "reference" to "cross". But really, what would they have been? Roget's Thesaurus (RT... uh...)? The Encyclopedia Britannica (...EB)? Bulfinch's Mythology (BfM! Nope). So, not terribly disappointed in actuality.

The revealer here is very nice. Would some like to nitpick that the OED is not so much a "reference" as a set of "reference books"? Not I.

I had some fun analyzing the words that contain the "OED" fragments. There are three past participles (SOLOED, HOED, and ZEROEDINON), two of which are from verbs that end in O, one that ends in OE. There is one adjective that derives from a past participle (PIGEONTOED). Then there is the adjective that derives from an abbreviation of a longer adjective (COED). There are two proper names, one of which is Greek in origin (OEDIPUSREX - I love that the entire name of the play is used), the other of which spans two names (JOEDON). And finally there is a phrase where the fragment crosses two words (RADIOEDITS). It's a nice mix of options, not repeating the same derivation over and over.

I really loved the flow of the grid. It moved very smoothly from one section to another. The NE and SW corners are isolated, but approached through a two square opening. I found myself starting in the NW and naturally moving all the way down to the SE. The grid-spanning revealer helped a lot.

I didn't like TEAC right next to ACER. Otherwise, I loved the two moons in nearly symmetric placement (especially PHOEBE!). I imagine some might have had difficulty with BROCA, but he is extremely well known in the world of Neurology. His "area" is responsible for generation of the motor aspects of language.

1A: Facebook entry (POST) is fine, elevated by the subsequent Facebook reference, but only a slightly. I give it a C+. A couple of nice clue-answer pairs, but my favorite is 47A: Name that Ogden Nash once rhymed with "No thonx" (BRONX). Ogden Nash FTW. I also liked SERAGLIO and PEZ.

Maybe I'll go partake of some DRY REDS now.

- Colum


  1. 11:42 (FWTE)
    DRYREDS on a weeknight? Scandalous. First, my errors: I put CHROm in instead of CHRON, and tAR instead of LAR; for some reason, I wasn't thinking of the cross properly, which, of course, could only be LINEN. Anyway, I knew BROCA off of the clue, a book which I've read several times ("Broca's Brain" by the great Carl Sagan). I knew PHOEBE off of two crosses and TRITON off of the clue. Also, JOEDON Baker starred in one of my favorite MST3K episodes, where Joel and the 'bots spoofed on "Mitchell," starring the aforementioned actor, and Linda Evans! Anyway, nice puzzle, and I agree with the good flow. Also, nice to have ECLIPSE in there, a solar event of which Sue and I will attempt to view almost exactly two months from right now.

  2. 5:03 (FWOE)

    I would have been in at around 4:30 if I had remembered ORNETTE Coleman's name properly. I entered aRNETTE very quickly (I blame Will Arnett) and never noticed the clue for LERaI. Ah well... And you know, I would look it over if it were on paper, but when you complete the grid on a computer you're done and you've either got it or you don't. I suppose I should do what Frannie does and leave one square blank so I could check it over before committing. We'll see if that ever happens...

    Anywho, I was just wondering aloud to Frannie whether we ought to buy the OED to have in our reference section here at home. I think the consensus was that it would be nicer to have the multi-volume set rather than the one with the tiny print and the magnifier, but to house it I would really have to re-make my room into a library. Hopefully, that will happen someday, but not very soon, I fear.

    Overall, I enjoyed this one. SERAGLIO seems a little un-Wednesdayish, but I didn't even notice it until I was finished, so I guess the crosses were fair. Ha.

    Also, PEZ. Everybody loves PEZ. I was just in a store in Harvard Square where they were selling a giant Hello Kitty Pez dispenser that dispensed whole packages of them instead of just the candies one at a time. I actually considered buying it.