Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Wednesday, March 2, 2016, Fred Piscop

6:08 (FWOE)

It turns out there aren't that many pasta names that can easily be used as puns. Ziti, orzo, and penne fit the bill well. I searched through a Wikipedia list of pasta names and couldn't come up with any others. That being said, three long answers feels a little thin. I think all of them are solid, if not incredibly original, both in terms of the puns and the phrases in question.

It is odd, also, that with only three theme answers, albeit long ones, that there are no answers in the fill that are longer than 6 letters! What it means is that there's very little zing to the puzzle. Can you believe that outside of the jokey theme answers, there's only one clue with a question mark? Even if you're not the biggest fan of the question mark in puzzle clues, the paucity here underscores the deadly earnestness of the cluing.

What I'm getting at, I guess, is that this puzzle is boring. Hardly Wednesday fare. I have very little to add, except:

1A: "Beg pardon ..." (AHEM) gets a C-. It was a perfect introduction to the puzzle in that it's dull all around.

I'm going with a "least-liked non-theme clue-answer pairing" today, and 64A: Philip Morris brand (MERIT) wins, both for its being a cigarette brand, and why couldn't we clue a perfectly good word in some other way, as well as the fact that my error came when I put bAS in at 64D, misreading the clue for undergraduate degrees, rather than post-grad degrees.

And finally, 39A: "Am I my brother's keeper?" brother (ABEL) is really odd, or maybe just wrong. The speaker of the line is Cain, and there's no way to deduce that we're supposed to guess Abel from the clue.

- Meh.


  1. 10:57
    Amazing about the overall shortness of the answers. Very odd. I had a lot of trouble in the West. That clue for OREO was one I had never heard before, and the other two Down clues also seemed unusually odd. Plus, I didn't of ORZO... for a long while.
    Overall, though, I agree about the relative blah-ness. Love the photo of the CROCI, though. Spring is near...

  2. I agree that the clue for ABEL is a stretch, but I find it begrudgingly OK in that same way we get misdirections like ENS from "Tennis center? or HARDG from "Good start." Since "Am I my brother's keeper" is in quotes and the second brother in the clue is outside the quotes, I read it as the word brother outside the quotes referring directly to the word brother inside the quotes (i.e., "my brother," ergo ABEL) rather than the brother speaking (CAIN). I'm not saying it's great or anything, but neither straight up wrong.