Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016, Don Gagliardo and Zhouqin Burnikel


Okay, I had no idea what was coming. I could not get a sense of the theme as I was solving. I saw there was a 15-letter answer across the bottom, which I assumed would make things clear, but it wasn't until I finished the whole grid and looked back at the clue did it become clear.

And let me say for the record, it's kind of cool. All of the consonants in the English alphabet are represented, in order, from left to right in rows 3, 6, and 9. Thus, ordered by ALPHABETIZATION. Although I didn't understand the theme entirely, as I entered PIQUE and QUAY, I thought: "Boy, it really looks like they're gunning hard for the pangram." In fact, they've done it one better: they achieved a pangram in just three rows. That's 26 letters out of 45 available (actually 38 white squares).

Well, guess what. In order to do that, you get a puzzle that's chopped up, with little flow, and a ton of 3-letter answers. The fact that it's as smooth as it is is impressive. ELIZ? ETO... ODON, IDS and partial ITA. The rest I can deal with. Although, what's with cluing BEN with an obscure 1972 horror movie? You have Artoo DETOO just above. Why not ___ Kenobi?

Things open up in the bottom third of the puzzle, and that section was much more enjoyable. I have a longtime desire to visit WATKINS Glen State Park. It looks gorgeous. VESPERS is a lovely word. It's unfortunate having HARDEES and PIK (along with SKOR, TARGET, and DASANI) shilling for their respective corporate products.

1A: Fail big-time (BOMB) is a boring if fine entry, made less appetizing by the ongoing atrocities committed by the self-titled Islamic State. I give it a B-.

- Colum


  1. 10:46
    Which, if I've done my math correctly, is exactly twice the time that it took Colum to complete the puzzle. I agree about all of the junk, but I enjoyed TRIBECA, SONNETS, HOJO, the aforementioned QUAY/PIQUE cross and even SISENOR because it looks so very odd. I did not like the plural EDAMS ATALL.

  2. 5:39
    And I come in somewhere in the middle... :)
    I'm feeling pretty good as we head into the final stretch before the ACPT, but I'm trying not to let myself get overconfident. As if that could happen after last year... but anyway, I'm excited about trying to better my standing, which, honestly, shouldn't be too hard. But see - there I go getting cocky!

    Very cool theme today. As usual, I had no idea what was going on. I just finished it, got up, and went to work. Things will change in April, of course, when it will once again be my job to figure this kind of thing out. But for now, I like to have Colum do it for me. Thanks Colum!

    I made a big mistake today in the NE putting in "ihop" for HOJO, and I liked it so much that I took COOK out for a spell, even though it was obviously a great answer for that clue (Pan handler) (no question mark!). I gave a sigh at AMIE (French female friend), and haven't we all OD'd on ODON? But overall, I liked the spirit of the clues, and the small/crosswordsy stuff didn't bother me too much. I say thumbs up!