Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wednesday, February 3, 2016, Tom McCoy


Another slightly odd theme today. I like the trend. For one thing, there are double revealers. MIDDLE-CLASS (31A: Bourgeoisie ... or a description of each group of circled letters?) and CENTERFIELD (42A: Baseball position ... or a description of each group of circled letters?). And in the circles, we see "ECON," "MATH," "LATIN" (my favorite!), and "THEATER." Even the arts folks are included! (See also: 21D: "____ washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life": Picasso (ART).) And the answers that these fields are hidden in are really quite diverse. From the full-name of actress UMATHURMAN (22A: Female lead in "Gattaca" and "Kill Bill") (I've seen both of these!) to the somewhat uncommon yet still acceptable ALLATINGLE (47A: In eager anticipation). I'm not too familiar with DEATHEATERS (60A: Followers of Lord Voldemort), but Frannie assures me that they were in those damned movies, and I'm sure that many, many people will find it to be their favorite of the four.

So let's give the theme an A. What do you know, two theme grades and two As. How long will it last? And while we're grading - 1A: Infomercial presentation, e.g. (SPIEL). I love the word, and it's uncommon and interesting, but it's not terribly clever or funny, so let's give it a B+. Better than better than average, but not great. And finally, my favorite clue/answer - 26D: Source of about 20% of the calories consumed by humanity (RICE). Very interesting. And sort of surprising to learn that it is not corn.

Not much long stuff outside the theme today, but there's still plenty to enjoy. The pair of fictional lands PANEM and EASTASIA, the paired "Cotton" GIN and ELI "Whitney," The paired "file name ending" clues make PDF and DOC slightly better, and then we have such fine words as ELICIT, CANON, EENSY and ICKY. And finally, a little something non-smutty for Huygens - AREA (21A: What pi may be used to find) and 15A: HI hi (ALOHA).

All in all, a fine Wednesday. Onward to The Turn!

- Horace


  1. 4:49 (FWOE)
    Well, it was a typo. I spelled STORM STOeM. And my eyes were already onto the next section. I count that as a half-error. I liked the double-revealer. That's a first for me. When I hit the first one, I thought how weird it was to find a revealer so high up in the puzzle. DEATHEATERS is completely acceptable. Although "theatre" would be more appropriate for those Brits.

  2. 6:39
    Surprised about RICE? Ever heard of Asia? (Full disclosure: I also considered corn.) Anyway, I was happy to see MATH in UMATHURMAN, enjoyed the double revealers and even enjoyed RICE because, pretty soon, I'll be gadding about some paddies. I was a SKYDIVER at one point, ALOHAed my way across the islands, have played CENTERFIELD, read and watch more SCIFI than I care to mention and determined countless AREAs. No one acknowledged TOM at 16A QB Brady, which even I knew, or its kind-of-pairing PUNTS. I'd probably have gone a bit lower with a grade for SPIEL, maybe B-, but I AGREE with the review in general. ATTA boy, Horace!