Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016, John Guzzetta


Way below my average time for a Wednesday.

Overall I don't have a great feeling about this puzzle. First of all, I don't particularly love the theme. Not just because it deals with numbers, but because the word "number" is strangely absent from the whole thing. "The first parts of 17- and 22-Across are always this..." "Natural" and "Whole" are always "INTEGER?" It doesn't make sense without "Numbers." The theme gets a D+, based mostly on execution. (Although I know this will upset a very high percentage of our readers.) (Huygens, you make up at least 25% of the known readership!)

1A: Many Latin ones end in -are (VERBS) gets a higher grade, mostly because I'm a big fan of Latin, but still it's not great. Let's say a solid B. And my favorite clue/answer pair today is 38D: It comes before one (NOON), because it tricked me. I suppose this works especially well today, since there was that whole INTEGER thing going on.

The fill doesn't do much to save this one either. Apart from a few interesting answers like BLUELAW (4D: Sunday shopping ban), NEIGH (25D: Sound from a stable), and ITALIC (13A: Right-leaning), there's a bit too much crosswordese like ETA, ELL, DNA, SRS, NEC, ARI, and SIREE. We also get two networks - CBS and CNN, two dated references LEROY (49D: "Bad, bad" Brown of song), and 66: Broom-____ of the comics (HILDA) (I understand it's still being produced, but this still skews old), and the unusual NAUTILI, STOMA, and WICCA. Then we have BIRTH clued with "Blessed event." Really? Blessed? Egad.

I'm usually not one to SNIPE or SNARL, much less ERUPT in a HUFF, but you can put me down as ANTI on this one.

- Horace


  1. 6:15 time was unusually fast, too, and continues the trend of faster times each day this week for me (starting on Monday, of course). The theme was fine, certainly deserving of a mark at least in the Bs, but that's not my call. No one likes a BLUELAW or BIRTH. There was no good way to clue ROIDS, and, in fact, the least offensive was chosen, probably. I don't like seeing OPRAH or ADELE anywhere, but then there's OWENS, FALLON and WIIG, and it was nice seeing WICCA represented, so I'm SPLIT on this puzzle (nice clue for that, BTW (35D The 7-10 is a nasty one)) since Sue and I bowl now and again. IOWA: timely. SEAROVERS? Never heard that term.

  2. 8:13
    Nice times, you fast solvers, you. I was completely flummoxed by SEAROVERS. It's just not a real term at all. I also had a strange brain slip where I put haDEs in at 6D: Herod's realm (JUDEA). Don't know what I was thinking there. I liked the theme better than you, Horace, although I get your point. I just liked the 15-letter answers, for the most part. IMAGINARYFRIEND and the reference to Hobbes is the best.