Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thursday, June 23, 2016, Megan Amram and David Kwong

0:26:31 (F.W.O.E.)

Greetings, Dear Reader, it is I, Horace, filling in for Frannie today.

I quite enjoyed this "formal" Thursday theme. Four familiar phrases expanded as if their first word were a nickname. "Bob for apples" (17A: Play a game on Halloween, formally?) becomes ROBERTFORAPPLES. Heh. "25A: Be exceedingly frugal, formally?" isn't to "penny pinch," but PENELOPEPINCH. Hah! It's more common in my experience to hear that as a noun (penny-pincher) instead of a verb, but I'll let it pass because Penelope is such a lovely name. Just ask Odysseus! My favorite of the theme answer, though, (and Frannie's she just tells me) is DOROTHYMATRIX (40A: Kind of printer, formally?). That's a quality theme!

So that's good, what about the rest? PEDI (1A: Half of a salon job) gets a C-. It's a partial of a partial (of sorts), and it's something we see a lot in puzzles. I did enjoy 14A: Writer Waugh, (ALEC), however, even though I've never heard of him, because it made me think right off the bat that there was going to be a rebus. How else were they going to fit "Evelyn" in there? Nice misdirection that could really only work on a Thursday.

HELENMIRREN (23D: Winner of the Triple Crown of Acting (Oscar, Tony and Emmy)) is, of course, fantastic. And yes, I'm mentioning her in the review even though I posted a photo of her... and another thing, it's not a bad way to spend several minutes, scrolling down the Google images that appear when her name is the search string. But where was I?...

LEFTTORIGHT (6D: Phrase in a group photo caption) was unexpected, but brought a chuckle. 27D: Hero of New Orleans (POBOY) also brought a smile. ARMADA, HELIX, SIPHON, ENTREATS, and ENTAIL are all solid fill. I wasn't familiar with LEONA (59A: "Bleeding Love" singer Lewis, 2007), and I can't remember hearing the word "Whilom" (ERST) before, but those aren't really complaints, I'm just exposing my weaknesses. Overall I give this puzzle a hearty thumbs up. Great start to The Turn™. I hope you enjoyed it as well.

- Horace

p.s. My one error was at the intersection of POLIS and OHYES. I'm pretty sure I entered "aHYES" and never looked back.

p.p.s. This is Ms. Amram's debut puzzle! Congratulations to her on such a good one.


  1. 30:50: finished with no errors! I mention it because I had three sticky spots, but I managed to nail the trifecta for a big Congratulations! Thank you Will Shortz. :) I thought the theme was clever and fun. Plus, I liked learning a new word: Whilom. Maybe I knew it erst.

    P.s. Your review had two PSs. Ha!

  2. 6:53
    I got the theme at DOROTHYMATRIX and didn't look back. Lovely! So much that is good, which you have mentioned in your review. I'll also add 48A: Where many grunts may be heard? (ARMYBASE). Hah!

    1. Also shout out to Hamilton with RENEE Elise Goldsberry!

  3. I was not as crazy about this theme as everybody else seems to be, especially for a Thursday. Very cute, yeah, yeah. Should've been a Monday or Tuesday. I agree with Amory, though, that there was a lot of nice cluing. I too loved the grunts clue. Also liked "Remote hiding place" (despite the ridiculously added question mark) and "Match player" (OK, more or less, with that Q). Wanted "Pip values," or some such thing for the "Aces" clue, although that wouldn't really be brief in any obvious way. Did we know that MARSBARS were as old as our Dad? Cool bit of trivia. Boy, "Go hang a salami! I'm a lasagna hog!" is a great example of palindrome taken to absurdity, isn't it? I had a silly DNF on this; Thought I would need a guess on the crossing of "Radiohead frontman Thom" (too old/who cares) and "Plant in an English hedge," so I started going down the alphabet and concluded that T was my best bet. I swear, I must've stopped there--I mean, how often to those letters past T make a good fit? Got SAL, but I'll have to ask my chemist brother if he's ever used/heard the term. Unsatisfying Thursday overall. Bring on the weekend!

    1. Who cares about Radiohead?! You know they've been around since the early 1990s, right? And that they've made the best guitar rock albums of the last three decades? Oof.

    2. Agreed. Only someone so thoroughly mired in "Classic Rock" would have made such a ridiculous statement.

  4. 19:08 (FWOE)
    I had the same error as Horace, which I realized only upon reading the review since I solved this on paper. PEDI is, indeed, tired, but overall I'll join the majority opinion, having quite enjoyed this offering. I prefer a rebus on a Thursday, but this was well done. No one nowadays knows the first Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, though; ELLEN should have been clued with Ms. Page. INGA Swenson also skews a bit old, but she was there in my subconscious somewhere. Of course, I see quite a bit of one of her former co-stars since I'm in the midst of Star Trek DSN right now (I'm a bit behind). No mention of CHERI by you French lovers?