Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016, Ellen Leuschner and Jeff Chen


We're a quarter of the way through 2016. Enjoy it while you can: according the New York Times, by 2100, New York will no longer be above water, so this crossword may be NULLANDVOID. I'm feeling a little morose today, in case you hadn't noticed. If there is any UPSIDE, though it's that ILOVEPARIS, and will be there before the next month is finished. TRESBIEN, non?

This grid did not start out so great. 1A: Elected (OPTED) is such crossword triteness, I give it a D-. It's compounded by the questionable OVOIDAL at 1D. Isn't this a term that is unnecessarily long? Wouldn't "ovoid" describe it just fine? On the other hand, here is London City Hall:
That is pretty cool. Not worth the extra syllable, though.

Anyway, things could only look up from there. 2D: Robert Galbraith and J. K. Rowling (PENNAMES) is interesting. The first is clearly a good example, in that Ms. Rowling chose that name to publish her mysteries under. The second is actually her name, though, even if she's using her initials instead of her given name, Joanne. Wikipedia says it is a pen name. I'm not convinced.

The theme is fun, though. Standard phrases in the form "[blank] and [blank]" where the blanks are synonyms are reinterpreted by clues in the form "double..." All five clues are definitely recognizable phrases. I like 17A: Double solitaire? (ONEANDONLY) and 33A: Double take? (SNATCHANDGRAB) the best. Impressive to fit five examples in. Not to mention that vim, vigor, and VERVE are all in the same grid.

36D: How conflicts are best resolved (AMICABLY) would be good advice for the Republican presidential candidates. 47D: Current events? (TIDES) is maybe a little off, but I enjoyed it anyway. Well, that's it for my month's reviews.


- Colum


  1. 13:42
    London has a lot of cool architecture. When I read 1D, I thought of the building they call the "London Gherkin" so I put in "conicAL". That held me up a bit in the NW. And I didn't know that J.K. Rowling used "Robert Galbraith" on other books, so that weirdness didn't trouble me. But still, I agree that initials do not a pen name make. "Horace Fawley," now there's a pen name!

    But where was I? I enjoyed this silliness. All the "doubles" got at least a smile. I had "SkIPOUT" for a while, but KSD didn't make any sense. Not that LSD makes much sense either... [rimshot]. I just saw IMAN in a video of David Bowie on the Rosie O'Donnell Show in the 1990's. He played "China Girl" for Rosie, but changed the chorus to "My little Rosie Girl." He was quite the guy.

    Well, I've got nothing much. We're flying into the City of Light on the same day you are, I recently learned, but while you're going to stick around, we're heading north to the Low Countries. It's a pity we couldn't meet up at the Deux Magots for a croissant, a cafe, and Gauloise. No, wait, strike that last one.

    Anyway, Frannie and I are very much looking forward to the tournament. The constructors have been announced, and Patrick Berry is among them! Also Patrick Blindauer, who scares me, frankly. I'm worried that he might be the constructor of the infamous "Puzzle Five" this year. There's still time to play online - We did that two years ago, and when you're playing at home, you can sit side by side and work on the same grid! If you want to, that is...

    OK. That's all for now. I'll be back tomorrow for the review and - if possible - an update from Stamford!

  2. 22:27
    Sit side-by-side with Sue? Solving a grid? Not bloody likely. It seems Paris will be quite the HOTSPOT for people associated with this blog. No one met me in Bali! Even though my time solving this puzzle was more than both of yours combined, I had no trouble to speak of with this grid. DEER Valley isn't known to me, but the crosses were fair (speaking of MENLO, we recently visited the Thomas Edison Museum on this coast during a recent trip to NJ). SNATCHANDGRAB reminds me of the excellent movie, "Snatch," starring, among others, Brad Pitt as a Gypsy; I should re-watch that. I agree about OVOIDAL being a syllable too long., but the remainder of the puzzle was TRESBIEN, IMO. 27D Make a scene, say (DRAWSTARES) is fantastic.