Sunday, May 8, 2016

Monday, May 9, 2016, Dan Schoenholz


This is a cute theme, and one where the shaded squares didn't bother me. In each answer, the first part is found in the nickname for a state whose postal abbreviation is hidden in the second part. Thus BAYMARE implies the Bay State, which is Massachusetts, whose postal code is MA. Get it? Nice clue for this BTW, especially in combination with 50A.

There are five examples, four of which are very good. The base phrase is strong, and the nickname part is not inherently referring to the state. This is not true of ALOHASHIRT. This shirt is more commonly called a Hawaiian shirt. So not quite on that one.

I found the rest of the puzzle reasonably good. It was slightly hard for a Monday, but not in a bad way. Part of that difficulty lies in the several compound type answers, such as RANGIN, ACHEFOR, and ISSUETO. I like 9D: "You can say that again!" (SOTRUE) and 30D: Feature of a neat drink (NOICE). If that latter had been on a Friday or Saturday, it would have been clues simply as "neat", which I like also. And, come to think of it, I like my rye neat as well, so there you go.

LOOIE returns for the third time in recent memory. That's two too many times, honestly. Is IDA allowable as a state abbreviation? Or is it only cool because it's sneaky extra thematic material?

Which brings me to the unfortunate NW corner. 1A: Protein-rich bean (SOYA) is okay, and I give it a C. But in the same section with partial ASEC, weird YEOW, and dual Scandinavian proper names SAAB (well, it was originally an acronym for Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget) and OSLO, as well as last name of an actress I know by sight but not by name BOWEN, it's a bit much.

SEQUENCE and PARTYHOP, on the other hand, are very good.

- Colum


  1. 5:03

    We're back from Europe, and I'll be going back to comment on the past week later today. The end of the vacation got rather hectic, and I only did the Saturday and Sunday puzzles on the flight home!

    Anyway, I, too, enjoyed this theme, and loved seeing a reference to "The Bay State" just as we return home to it. I agree that ALOHASHIRT is the most odd, but the others, and the whole idea of this, is pretty damn cool. And three times the postal code actually starts the last word. I wonder if the original intent was to have all of them that way...

    Anyway, yes. Good puzzle. SEQUENCE, THRASH, PLAYDOH (commercial though it is), and the aforementioned NOICE. Which, by the way, is the way I will take the calvados that we bought direct from a small producer as we drove through the Pays D'Auge...

  2. 7:26
    There is no way other than NOICE to drink fine liquor; all educated people agree. It's a shame that the first theme answer is such a clunker; usually I'm happy with any HI reference. And located so close in the puzzle to DONHO, whom we now know was a real hack since we've come to know Brudda Iz. I'm partial to SOYA, but will accept the C, though I'd have given it a B-. Let's retire LOOIE, at least for the remainder of 2016.