Thursday, March 3, 2016

Thursday, March 3, 2016, Andrew Zhou


For my birthday, I got a puzzle right up my alley, and it's a mighty clever one too. The surprising revealer comes at 7D: Having the same pitch but written differently, in a score (ENHARMONIC). It's not revealed as a revealer, though, and it doesn't stand out, coming in a trio of ten-letter down answers. Only, see, one of those answers is not really a ten-letter answer.

I had a brief moment of difficulty with 1A: Police rounds (AMMO), where I had put "beat". I corrected it once I saw 1D (ALMA) and 4D (ODE), automatic answers. I like the clue here for its misdirection, but I don't like the answer. Altogether too much gun stuff in our culture. I'll give it a C+. In any case, finishing the NW corner gave me MUSEUM____ at 16A. I knew what it was looking for, but couldn't fit it in, so I suspected a rebus type puzzle fairly quickly.

I got it when 6D: High-tech home gadget company was down to TH_ERIMAGE. See, that's TH[ESHARP]ERIMAGE, and the enharmonic of E# is F natural, leading to MUSEUMO[FNATURAL]HISTORY. That's some fine thematizing, IMO. The other two theme rebuses come in the SW and SE corners, where LOOKIN[GSHARP] and GET[AFLAT] cross, and D[EFLAT]EGATE and CAR[DSHARP] cross. I like that the enharmonic pairs are different in each case, that the rebuses are not predictable in placement, and that the E-flat answer does not use "flat" as a separate word.

The mirror image symmetry of the puzzle leaves a lot of area uncovered by theme. Unless, now that I look at it, 3D: One added to the staff? (MUSICALNOTE) and 9D: Dichromatic fad of the 1950s (TWOTONECARS) are sneaky theme answers.

In any case, some answers I did not love: EREADER is always somewhat annoying. STORESIGNS feels ad hoc. It's rough having both AQABA and BENIN (symmetric, no less!), even if they're finally becoming familiar to this solver. Likewise ABE and ITO, also symmetric. And RESOAK is iffy.

I do like 41A: Certain geek (FANGIRL) both for its contemporary feel and the way it flies in the face of gender stereotypes. 54A: Got nothing back from? (ACED) is cute - it's referring to tennis. I'm just not sure we use the word as a verb in that context - it's more likely to be "she hit an ace" rather than "she aced it."

- Colum


  1. 19:13
    I, too, very much enjoyed this one. I finally got the rebus at D[EFLAT]EGATE and CAR[DSHARP] and let out an audible grunt of approval. I especially loved that "F NATURAL" was used, and not just sharps and flats. Very clever.

    Also, I love me a good salade Nicoise! Did I ever tell you about the miraculously good one I had in Lourdes? … true story.

    Agree completely with the review. Some very unpleasant areas, but here the theme wins out.

  2. I have not heard about your personal Lourdes miracle. But if it came in the shape of a salade nicoise, I can understand.