Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday, April 17, 2016, Howard Barkin, Expanded Worldview

Frannie here, which is why the review is so late today. IMAMESS

I thought today's puzzle was spot on, if you will. It was a  substantial theme surrounded by clean, interesting, fun and funny fill, clued at a fitting degree of difficulty.

What the theme lacked in usual Sunday word play (which sometimes borders on *pun*ishment J), it  made up for in robust answers that included types of places, beautifully arranged in increasing order of magnitude ('HOUSE, 'STREET, 'BLOCK, 'CITY, 'STATE, and 'NATION), expanding our worldview, one grid row at a time.

Horace and I solved this puzzle together, sipping rye whiskey and passing the laptop back and forth, in a location that might be described as Ocean, Maine, Coast, Dune, Avenue, Cottage. And, while a tumbler of strong spirits would have been an excellent start to a Sunday, it was actually Saturday night. So, in order to write the review this morning (it's morning somewhere!), I ran through the clues to refresh my memory. There were a lot of good ones that I enjoyed again for the first time. In the time-honored tradition of puzzle reviews, I'll BELTOUT a few of my favorites.

27A. Makeup for a "Wizard of Oz" character? (TIN). Silverfacepaint just didn't fit. J
81D. Order in the court. (RISE). Accurate!
57A. Lock combination? (HAIRDO). This one has style!
68D. What covers parts of 80-Down? (SARI). Ha!
13D. Lose control at the buffet (OVEREAT). Indeed.

There were a few answers that I might TAPEUP, but it probably boils down to personal preference.
28A. Cooperate (with) (LIAISE). Although the word does have a nice multi-vowel sequence, it has too many unsavory business associations to be used in polite company.
72A. Feeling (SENSATE). Any person of sensate would repudiate this word.
70D. L.A. locale (CALI). If people do call it that, they shouldn't.

In the time-honored tradition of grading the kickoff clue, (Kind of chip), I give it a B+. Nacho hardest, but with several possibilities in an completely empty grid, nacho easiest, either. See what I did there? (40A. OHO).

ENUF of that. All in all, a very nice Sunday solve.



  1. I didn't love this puzzle as much as you, but YMMV, as they say. Somebody says it. I think.

    Anyway, it played easy for a Sunday, and I finished it in about 75% of my average Sunday time. Also, I thought there were more groaners than you, including AGRIN, which should just be a no. Also, ENUF. Hmmm. And IBISES and IBEXES in the same puzzle. And plural EBONS?

    I liked some other stuff, and there was some fun cluing going on so it wasn't a total downer. Plus, and reference to Calvin & Hobbes is good in my book.

  2. Yep, this was designed to be on the easy side for a Sunday. Maybe encourage a few more people to try it out and stuff.
    I have a soft spot for crossword animals, but I promise I won't use ANOA etc.
    And I really hated AGRIN, but I couldn't find a way to wipe that smile off the grid, so it stayed.
    Seems a huge majority of my clues were edited (possibly too easy), so any clue comments can go to Mr. Shortz on this one ;).

  3. 33:11
    It did go a bit fast for a Sunday, but it was enjoyable. I liked the theme (looking back on it, as I solved too quickly to take any note of it during the solve itself). I was able, as they say, to BELTOUT the ANSWERS rather quickly, though not literally. Nice that REDSOXNATION is in there, and even SEXANDTHECITY, which Sue made me watch in its entirety. FUGUE is always excellent, and ANIMALHOUSE holds up to this day. I LOVE the theme music for The BLOB, but one STUMBLINGBLOCK I can mention is that REARENDS could have used a more blue clue (Mr. Shortz's fault, no doubt).