Thursday, February 4, 2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016, Jeff Chen

0:21:43 (F.W.O.E.)

A tricky Thursday from Mr. Chen! From what I've pieced together, he's something of a math/science/engineering sort of fellow, so it seems right up his alley to build a puzzle around square roots. And how beautifully done! The last one I got was the first in the sequence, and the funniest, because it's the same! HOLEINONE (17A: Ace) is the same whether you square the one or not. The others, though, progress up to four. FANTASTICTWO (28A: Marvel Comics group), ONCLOUDTHREE (45A: Elated), and SWEETFOUR (60A: Milestone birthday). It's a little unfortunate that a note was required (in the online version anyway... did anyone see it in the actual paper?), but even so, I'm still giving the theme an A. It's just so cleanly done.

1A: Loads (RAFTS) is kind of dull, but the words can be quite different, so that's a nice juxtaposition. B-
And my favorite clue answer: 2D: "Hi, Ho!" (ALOHA) because it totally got me, even after yesterday's "HI hi." I don't know what I was looking for, but I laughed out loud when I realized what it was.

The fill is relatively clean, too, apart from a few groaners like FILER and SUI. NOUNS (18D: Words ending in "o" in Esperanto) was interesting, I enjoyed BARACUS and ATEAM, and contrasting that lowbrow pair, we have AMBITS (32A: Circuits), CITADEL (27D: Bulwark), and ADHERE (44A: Accrete) which are all quite erudite. The long downs are all solid, and we get the entire name of LAOTSE. It's just one variant of his name, but still, I'll take it.

My error sadly came at PECOS (26A: River mentioned in Yosemite Sam's self-introduction). I must have put in NITS (22D: Snags) without really thinking it over and I never went back. Which brings me to my last topic - the online version of the puzzle now leaves my error square unfilled, forever exposing my shame. I like the change, actually, and I think it might make me a little more careful. That's the dream anyway. We'll see if it works.

Solid Thursday - even without a rebus.

- Horace

p.s. TOM gets in for a second day in a row!


  1. 8:54 (FWTE)
    I'll see your error and do you one better! So, I'm not entirely sure what I was thinking at 29D: Chemical ____ (AGENT) when I entered AlErT. Is there such a thing as a "chemical alert"? It seemed to make sense to me at the time. Of course, lIST instead of GIST should have given it away, and I did raise an eyebrow trying to figure that one out. On the other hand, OBAN was completely alien to me, so no help for the Klingon there.

    A lot to like in the cluing today. I enjoyed 1D: It's a sobering process (REHAB), and my favorite, 4D: Powerful offers? (THEMAFIA). I especially like that for the reparsing from a noun to a verb, but also because of "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse." 25D: Small flap, maybe (CATDOOR) also got me, looking for some kind of a minor tiff.

    Very enjoyable.

  2. 34:14
    Although this puzzle took me longer than both of your times combined, it allowed for no errors; maybe you two should slow down and smell the roses a bit. I, of course, loved this. I had HOLEINONE and FANTASTICTWO by the time that I filled in S____FOUR from crosses and, not knowing the theme yet, or even that there was one, entered "ixty" thinking of The Beatles, of course. Then I tried the crosses and noticed [ROOT] in the circles in the SW, and it all came together. I liked that KARMA crossed LAOTSE. I am, sadly, not too familiar with OBAN, concentrating more on the Islay much to learn. I starred 53A What a mule may carry (KILO) as particularly good, and 30D Sport (WEAR) as a nice clue/answer pair. Finally, on a down note, I wish earnestly to never be exposed again to the term 43D Baby ____ (BUMP).

    1. I was able to drop in OBAN without crosses thanks to the director of the dig in Italy, who offered glasses of the stuff to Frannie and me when we arrived that first year. It's good stuff. We'll have to schedule another scotch tasting sometime before too long.