Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wednesday, March 30, 2016, Andrew Reynolds


First off, happy birthday to Horace. I understand you're freaking old now. Congratulations.

Meanwhile, we have a much better puzzle than yesterday. I love the concept of the theme, and it's carried out very well. 34A: Environmentalist's concern ... or a hint to the shaded letters (CLIMATECHANGE) is the centrally placed revealer. Since it's 13 letters, I don't think it could have gone anywhere else.

Then, in each of the other theme answers, the letters of "climate" are anagrammatized, in each case across the two words that make up the phrases. Always nice to see that consistency. The M and the C take this exercise out of the trivial rearrangement of common English letters. I don't love CHEMICALTESTING as a phrase: it seems a bit ad hoc. But the other three are all strong answers. I wonder whether MEALTICKET was the seed entry.

The puzzle had an exotic flair to it, what with ALGERIA (really the largest country in Africa? 919,595 square miles, per Wikipedia, making it the 10th largest country in the world! Although that includes Antarctica, so really the 9th), TIRANA (capital of a country makes it fair game, not to mention that Albania is another country that begins and ends with; apparently there are 12 - can you name them?), and NORSEMEN.

SKEEBALL is a big favorite of ours when we go to Lake George for a late summer Saturday frolic. I have found a ludicrously successful technique of bouncing the ball off the left wall just before the lip of the incline. With the right spin, I can almost always get 30 or more. Good times.

It's a nice pairing with SEMPERFI, and I love the crossing of that and PILFER. Such chunky feeling answers. THORAX is another nice one, although it comes at the price of XED.

1A: So last year (PASSE) is pretty good. I'll give it a B+.

- Colum


  1. 9:47
    Great theme today. Horace was probably not too happy with the circles, especially on his birthday. Sue and I have been talking of again visiting EPCOT, but our deep spending freeze (which she imposed) will KINDA prevent that for a little while. STINKO (11D Pie-eyed) is excellent; maybe Horace became that in celebration of his birthday. RIVETS and GRILLPAN weren't that great. I've always been hit-or-miss with SKEEBALL, but enjoy it nonetheless.

  2. 9:12 (FWOE)
    Thank you both for the mention of the birthday. Yes, I've crossed over now, but it didn't stop me from getting slightly pie-eyed last night. Indeed, Frannie got me a rye whiskey from Pennsylvania, which was appropriate, given my location 50 years ago.

    There were no circles in the online version that I solved - only shaded areas, which I shall consider to be a birthday miracle. Also, I loved the theme, since I'm somewhat known for my ecologic bent.

    I actually had something of a brain freeze - or was it a "senior moment?" - when I put in "STARk" for Fab Four surname. I guess I was thinking of Starkey, and I never went back until I got the "Almost" signal at the end. D'oh!

    1. Maybe you were thinking of Iron Man. Mmmm...rye.