Saturday, April 9, 2016

Saturday, April 9, 2016, David Phillips


Boy, this was a struggle, but I feel pretty good about it. Lots of deceptive clueing, and some very nice fill. Of course, there's some so-so fill, too, but on balance, I'd say this extra-wide grid was a CUTABOVE.

THEBIGBANGTHEORY (36A: Sitcom on which Steven Hawking and Buzz Aldrin have appeared)  (When "The Simpsons" didn't fit, what else could it be?) was mercifully easy, and gave a decent start to the entire middle section. I was amused, as I always am, by 33A: Stock report? (MOO), and that "MA" was enough to get the excellent BROMANCE (21D: It may grow between buds). CHANNELS (7A: Remote possibilities) was good, SHELLGAME (31D: It's a hard act to follow) is good fill with an outstanding clue, and REDCROSS (60A: It may be out for blood) was also very strong.

PIETISM (46A: Old Lutheran movement) was tough, but inferable, as was THESIREN (38D: Alter ego of "Batman" villainess Lorelei Circe). Well... with enough crosses anyway. There were lots of names that were on the periphery of my memory, including MOFFAT (1A: Steven who co-created TV's "Sherlock") (I'll give this a B rating. I like the show.). OSBORN (30A: "The Paper Chase" novelist) and TOBIAS (28D: ____ Ragg, Sweeney Todd's assistant), on the other hand, were beyond that periphery.

A couple answers I only really understand now, as I review the puzzle. AIR CARRIER (5D: Sky line) for one - they're talking about airlines - and NELSON (61A: Hold with both arms, say) which is, I guess, using part of "half-Nelson" or "full-Nelson" as a verb. Hmmm.... can we say NOHARMDONE there? I'm not entirely sure.

Certainly there are some concessions for all the good material (SCARERS, NYAH, NYE, ETAL), but overall, a satisfying Saturday.

- Horace


  1. 20:22
    I think the clue for NELSON uses "Hold" as a noun, as in "a hold" that uses both arms. Putting "a" in the clue would have been too easy. I think you could make a better argument that you'd rarely see "NELSON" used without the "full" or "half" prefixes, but I'm not a wrestler so it's hard for me to say. Actually, I suspect you may have more personal experience with NELSONs courtesy of the EnglishTeacher59. What did he call them?

    Also, I think, having seen Monsters, Inc. on multiple occasions with the boys, that SCARERS is absolutely fine. SCARERS are the employees of the company, Monsters, Inc., for which the movie is named and needing good, top-producing SCARERS is the central premise of the movie. It's really a wonderful turnabout to the childhood fear of monsters. Have you seen it?

    1. Hmm... I suppose hold could be a noun there, but the trailing "say" indicates a verb. At least to me. And I can't remember exactly what they called that hold, I think maybe we just used half and/or full nelson. I also remember that they used to talk a lot about "immobilization." Hah! Jerks.

      And no, I've never seen Monsters Inc.

    2. I take "say" to simply mean "for example," although for the life of me I can't understand why it's needed with this clue.

      Monsters, Inc. is a very clever movie, starring Billy Crystal and John Goodman. Wait, have you seen any of the Pixar movies?

  2. 31:29
    A bit faster than yesterday'd puzzle for me, which is unusual. I'll note that mosquito fits where REDCROSS belongs, which slowed me down a bit, and pALealES fits where TALLONES belongs. 45A Alternative to clubs (BLTS was excellent, as was EROTICA, of course. I haven't heard Marilyn MCCOO mentioned for many, many years. RAYKROC was a gimme for this former McDonald's employee, and I've visited both Edo (EDOPERIOD) and LIVERMORE (or at least somewhere close enough to afford us a view of its hills). ET59 probably got HOUNDDOG a bit faster than I, but I got it pretty quickly nonetheless. Finally, I enjoyed having NYE clued in an other-than-"Bill ___ the Science Guy" fashion for once.

    1. I fell for the "pale ale" trap, but not mosquito. That Q on the bottom row would have given me pause. It is great, though, that both would fit. I'll file that away... And good point about NYE.

  3. 20:12
    I didn't get CHANNELS until after the whole puzzle was done. Tough clue there! I had to guess at the cross with LIVERMORE. I got it right, fortunately. TOBIAS was a gimme for me, since Sondheim's Sweeney Todd is my choice for greatest Broadway musical ever. I took a long time with NELSON, because ETAL just didn't parse until I put the L in. THESIREN should have been a straightforward gimme, given the character's name. Lorelei Circe... Hmmm. What could it be?

    I loved this puzzle. Look at the price on that PINTO! Only $2,769 for a flaming disaster of a car!

    1. Excellent point about Lorelei Circe... why didn't I think of that?

      And there was an interesting article in the New Yorker a while ago that didn't exactly exonerate the Pinto, but did point out that the car's design was not entirely to blame.