Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thursday, March 24, 2016, David Liben-Nowell and Tom Pepper


I'm not sure what the online experience of this puzzle was like, but it was plenty clear from the blinking I in the upper corner and the text there, what was expected. The upper third went very quickly, so I had LOGICALFALLACY in place before too long. Then it was just a matter of figuring out what went in the "-" clues.

Because I had AVEC going down into the shaded square, and then a few of the next letters, I got CIRCULAR / REASONING... nearly immediately. The latter part of the circular phrase took more guessing, and was in fact the very last thing I filled in. I like that it goes around and around and around and...

BEGTHEQUESTION feels just a little bit off. We usually say: "That begs the question, though, doesn't it?" We say that all the time. We really do. Exactly that. Maybe "begging the question." It's an odd phrasing, but I got the point.

Anyway, there's a fair amount of blah in the fill. EEC crossing ESTD. AGR. NAT, ECRU, IGO. AGEE and AGER. APOP.

NYT was sort of funny, clued as "WSJ competitor" rather than "Where this puzzle is found". I also enjoyed 1A: Film character who says menacingly "I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do" (HAL). Good reference, great quote. I give it a B+ because it's hard to give an A to a 3-letter answer. Did you know that HAL is IBM less one letter each?

Some good 8-letter answers in 12A: Mom's All-American partner (APPLEPIE) and 19A: Modern form of customer support (LIVECHAT). CRASSEST, on the other hand... not so much. I very much liked 26D: Ones making a big scene? (EXTRAS). And Luis TIANT!

SEX gets another really great clue today: "I don't know the question, but ___ is definitely the answer": Woody Allen. That's two days in a row. Shall we make it trifecta tomorrow?

- Colum


  1. 36:50
    I didn't know that about HAL...good trivia. Luis TIANT is someone I've never heard of, but the crosses were all fair, and CSLEWIS is nice fill. This was a decent Thursday, although I prefer more of a rebus, of course. At least there was a CCUP and CALC in there. I've had just about enough of APOP, though, and I don't like the fact that the puzzle both starts and ends with a three-letter answer.

  2. 13:12
    I enjoyed this one. I'm pretty sure I made a mistake somewhere in it, but I can't remember quite where right now. I love the theme (although I agree about BEGTHEQUESTION, and I think it's probably worth the junk.

    I don't get "The Washington Post April figure" being NAT? What's that about? And "'The Washington Post March' figure" being SOUSA makes a cute pair, I guess, but is "composer" really "figure?" Or am I missing something there, too?

    "Ones making a big scene" EXTRAS was fun. And weirdest clue? - "Abbr. in the Guinness logo" for ESTD. Somebody was obviously drinking Guinness while composing.