Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tuesday, April 19, 2016, David J. Kahn


Another central revealer today with an astonishing eleven theme answers. Or, really, entries, as twice it happens that there are two theme entries hidden in a single word. And while they are in symmetrical pieces of fill, they are also almost symmetrical in and of themselves, which I think is very impressive. It's just a shame that there's no such thing as a "lae" head, because that would have been beautiful.

So anyway, what are we talking about here? The theme is HEADSUP (36A: Warning appropriate for this puzzle?), and the "heads" that read from bottom to top in the shaded areas (on the Web, anyway) are egg, bow, over, air, acid, war, drum, pin, bone, red, and pot. The only one that isn't immediately obvious to me is "bow head." I looked it up, and one of the first hits was from Urban Dictionary, which gives "woman who wears a bow in her hair, who often has an annoyingly perky personality and may be overly interested in things like her sorority." Good enough for me. I'd start using it, but I stopped hanging around with bowheads long ago... (There is, also, the bowhead whale, but let's not complicate things.)

The theme answers are held in mostly excellent fill like DEDICATES (5D: Names in someone's honor), REVOLT (4D: Not take it anymore), MURDERONE (34D: Certain homicide, in police lingo), and TWOBAGGER (32D: Double, in baseball lingo). 

And for all that, we pay very little, really. Sure, there's a couple partials - TOBAT, ISHOT - and some gratuitous pluralizing - IRAS, MAES (poor), and ELIS (but the clue for this mentions Jodie Foster, so I'll let it pass) - and the very poor RIS (14D: Sue Grafton's "____ for Riccochet"), but you know what? There are also interesting clues like - "29D: Land animal whose closest living relatives include whales" (HIPPO) and "31D: North America's largest alpine lake" (TAHOE) - so I'm giving this a thumbs up.

- Horace

p.s. 1A: Practice boxing (SPAR) - B. Solid.

p.p.s. If all goes well, Frannie and I will be picking up a vehicle from HERTZ at Charles de Gaulle airport on Thursday morning, which is enough to make me want to give a YELL (20A: Cheerleader's cheer.)


  1. 5:54
    Very impressive theme. I don't love STOPORDER, but it's a real thing, so I won't complain too much. REL? I don't know. There is a fair amount of gluey fill. But I love FIGARO. Nice clue, especially crossing ARIA.

  2. 9:08
    Since Solti fits in where SZELL belongs, I was slowed down just a bit in the east (don't write to me...I know it's "Georg" Solti, and that he was associated with the Chicago S.O., but I was going fast). I agree that MAES is terrible, and somewhat of a high price to pay. PHOBOS is great, but NIPS could have been clued with an alcohol reference that, I think, would have been better, or is that a regional thing? All in all, a decent puzzle.