Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tuesday, April 26, 2016, Finn Vigeland


The first theme answer I got was 19A: Scandal involving Tesla C.E.O. Musk? (ELONGATE), and I thought to myself, "That's not a word!" I could only pronounce it as "Elon-(the name)-gate." APPLEGATE (28A: Scandal affecting iPhone owners?) didn't help, because what is APPLEGATE? Finally, DELEGATE (18A: Scandal surrounding copy editors' proofreading marks?) (wow... what a clue!) brought it all home for me. The bottom three themers - FLOODGATE (47A: Scandal in the aftermath of a tsunami?), TAILGATE (57A: Scandal that implicates a detective?), and NAVIGATE (61A: Scandal depicted in "Avatar"?) - are all normal enough, but the clueing for these is just so tortured... it really seems like this theme was forced.

In the fill we find a few nice entries like NUDGE (34D: Wink accompanier), CHAGRIN (46D: "Much to my ____ ..."), and FRENEMY (4D: Ally who's not completely an ally), but more often we see TIRED DREGS like EPEE, TUTU, TATAIRT, EEGS, and ELAL, or odd fill like ADAS (58D: Ones helping a public prosecutor, for short), ALLOK (21A: Completely fine), or GAPEAT (17A: Watch in astonishment). 1A: Medieval drudges (SERFS) I will give a C-.

The clue for URL (8D: Address you can't enter into a GPS) was the best I've seen for that answer, and I also enjoyed "20D: Decidedly not-lax grp. at LAX" for TSA, and "Actor Bean, whose first name looks like it rhymes with his last, but doesn't" (SEAN) would have been better, perhaps, if I knew who Sean Bean was.

I guess this one just wasn't for me.

- Horace


  1. Tired dregs notwithstanding, I thought this was an especially fun theme and puzzle, well-suited for its day of the week.

  2. 5:03
    I see now that APPLEGATE (I think your autocorrect kicked in above) refers to Christina, the actress. I find this too much of an outlier. The four outside theme entries are much higher quality, because the -gate is "hidden" in the words. At the same time, having non-theme answers of the same length in the NE and SW stacks is disconcerting. OTOH, Hamilton (MUSICAL), and because of that, the puzzle recovers.

  3. 11:12
    Christina APPLEGATE is far from an outlier. Why else would "Married with Children" be watched? Anyway, I notice that my time is four seconds longer than Horace's doubled. I starred NUDGE for obvious reasons. The only complaint I'd have is that as soon as I figured out the "gate" theme, I filled in ____GATE in all of the appropriate places, which, despite the evidence above, greatly helped with my time.