Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tuesday, May 17, 2016, Paula Gamache


I could not parse the NW corner, which took over two minutes of my total time. It certainly didn't help having DELWEBB and ALDO Gucci next to each other. More to the point, I had ISm at 5D: Suffix with human (IST), and that threw off the theme answer.

Fortunately, I finally recognized PATHE (shouldn't have been so hard; when you have PA_HE, how many letters can go in there?), and the rest fell. 1A: Thing on a string (BEAD) - I tried "yoyo" first. The actual answer is fine, and the clue is cute. I'll give it a B.
So anyway, the theme is pretty dense, with five nine-letter answers and one nine-letter revealer. It's a classic concept, a two word phrase, each of which can go in front of the revealer word, namely "head", to make two separate well-recognizable phrases. HORSEMEAT was pretty gross (although is it really that much more gross than "cow meat"?), and who wants to have to picture a "whitehead"? Otherwise it's fine.

I like three of the 7-letter down answers (all except the one in the NW corner). OTTOMAN is good, especially referring to Suleiman rather than a piece of furniture. And in the opposite corner, STPETER opposes the advance of the Empire. They didn't quite make it to Vienna, but their influence was felt in Mozart and Beethoven's Turkish marches (I love that section of the ninth symphony, and not just because it's a tenor solo).

Also in croissants, which may or may not have been developed to celebrate turning the attack away.

By the way, we ate a ton of croissants while we were in Paris recently.

Um, anyway, the crossword puzzle. I wish we could do away with YSER and SNERD. ULT seems particularly ad hoc. LBO stands for leveraged buyout. Whatever.

It wasn't the best Tuesday, in my book.

- Colum


  1. 14:14
    I forgot to look up LBO. Don't I have an MBA? I should have known that. Anyway, I enjoyed the theme (except, as Colum mentions, the "____WHITE" part). SEABEES always reminds me of the nice base in Biloxi where I stayed in a four-star hotel as an E6 for two weeks, having my own hotel room with a mint on the pillow! Of course, it was free to me, but the regular price for service members was $7/night, as I recall. MADEHAY is excellent, and I even love the look of the revealer: GOONAHEAD. Agree regarding the Ninth Symphony, which I've seen at Tanglewood three times now and in other places at least twice; I don't know how many times I've listened to various versions...several hundred, anyway. It never gets old. OREOS are overrated.

  2. 9:18

    I, for one, have never heard of SEABEES. Or ESTRUS. "Horse Head" is kind of gross, too. And what, pray tell, is a "Bubble Head?"

    On the brighter side, REDLETTER makes me think of "It's a Wonderful Life" ("Another red-letter day for the Baileys!"), and I agree that MADEHAY is excellent.

    Not the greatest, but not the worst.

    1. You know, I was thinking of a fiddlehead when I looked at horsehead. I definitely like the former better.

    2. A bubble head is kind of a ditzy person, no?