Saturday, April 9, 2016

Sunday, April 10, 2016, Randolph Ross


The theme today was a nice one: types of boats and the bodies of water where they are often found. RAFT on the COLORADORIVERGONDOLA on the GRANDCANAL, and UBOAT under the ATLANTICOCEAN. At first I wondered why it was not perfectly symmetrical, but now I see that most of them (with the lone exception of the UBOAT) are on the bodies of water, just as they should be. That's a nice touch.

The fill, however, suffers greatly for this cute theme, and is loaded with very unusual entries. JUDAEA (20A: Jerusalem's province, to the Romans), LEVERET (49A: Young hare), BALALAIKA (36A: Russian relative of a guitar), and ATMAN (51D: Hindu soul), to name just four. Then you've got things like UNDAM (34D: Let flow again), ODETS (48D: "Waiting for Lefty" playwright) (from 1935), SERIO (25A: Prefix with comic) (umm... ok), PARD (92A: Cowpoke's friend), BAI, SRS, LDL, UNE, OBE... It seems a bit too much for me.

On the up side, there are some nice entries, too. ESCALATOR (53D: One-way flight?) is good, STEELMILL (56A: Heavy metal venue?) is cute, I love a reference to the sonnets, as in ETERNAL (3D: "But thy ____ summer shall not fade": Shak.), and it's always nice to see full names, like JANETRENO (20D: Cabinet member who served all eight years under Bill Clinton).

1A: "Things aren't so bad!" (CHEERUP) gets a B. I like it. I like ALAMO and PASTRY (13A: Napoleon, for one), too, but on the whole, the puzzle is just too full of weirdness to get a thumbs up.

- Horace


  1. There was a lot I didn't love about this one, but the cluing often made up for it. It took me so long to figure out ALAMO. And how about this cringeworthy answer made slightly better by it's clue? 39A: A or O, e.g. (ALER). I had no idea where this was going. 59A: They're blown in the winds (OBOES). Nice. I agree about the large amount of not wanted fill. I also didn't like how large sections were almost completely isolated from each other.

  2. 47:17
    I'll give this a thumbs up, as it falls right into my preferred solve time range: 45 to 60 minutes. My last two entries were the GE of AGEONE at 114A Time to start walking. I was thinking music with the FF clue at 109D (of course, it would be fff), but I couldn't get rid of the R_W, and I had never heard of YAGO, so there you go. It's always nice to think of ELAINE Benes, and I like the BERRY/FERRY cross. I mean, a big puzzle like this, you're bound to get some glue, no? 66A Unimpressive mount (ASS) (I wanted nag) was good, and how about 63A Saloon sounds (HICS): excellent. Probably Horace's father would have known GNEISS right away, since even I did. My favorite may be 19A Head of the army? (LATRINE), question mark and all.

  3. I still do not grasp ALER (clue: A to O)found in a puzzle by Ross. What is the clue/answer association?