Monday, June 13, 2016

Tuesday, June 14, 2016, Tracy Gray


An unusual "E-Z" theme today, with four two-word answers starting with those letters, and a revealer of EASYDOESIT (58A: "Not too hard now" ... or a homophonic hint to 17-, 23-, 35-, and 48-Across). I guess it works, but if EBOLAZAIRE really is used as a name, I've never heard it. I've also never heard of EDZWICK (35A: "Legends of the Fall" director, informally), and the Z in his name was my last square. It shouldn't have been, because - the theme!, but I couldn't remember if it was an X or a Z, and I hadn't yet put any thought into figuring out what the theme was. Luckly, I went with the Z.

So the theme didn't do much for me. What about the rest of it? Well, the SW and NE are nice and chunky with their triple-ninestacks. Nothing is particularly earth-shattering in the stacks, but nothing is objectionable either. CANOODLES (31D: Makes out) is the best word, but does it really mean "makes out?" Isn't it more general than that? It's a word that I think can't really be - nay, shouldn't really be - defined too precisely. We all know what it means. Still, I suppose it has to be clued somehow. :)

"14A: Much of a maze" took me tons of crosses. I wanted "hedges" instantly, but somehow couldn't make the very small leap from hedges to WALLS. It's an odd clue, and I like it. One that I don't particularly like is POO (54A: Nanki-____ of "The Mikado"). I don't mind the word, per se, but that the character, and the Mikado itself, should be reduced to that entry just seems so very wrong.

1A: Baseball slugger's datum (ATBAT) is, again, kinda meh. I'll give it a C+. In fact, that's kind of how I feel about the whole grid. It's fine, but I wouldn't call it sparkling. ZOIC isn't great, there's DCON and DRANO, and the aforementioned POO. Lots of EVE and CEO and OLE and ODE... not enough GLEE. I think my favorite answer might actually be SUGGEST (41D: Propose). I don't know if I've ever seen it in a crossword before. And that's all it takes today to get to be my favorite entry.

- Horace


  1. 8:13
    I never heard of any of the theme answers except for EROGENOUSZONES, although I've heard ZAPATA, just not the EMILIANO part. I guess, similarly, I'd heard the EBOLA, just not paired with the ZAIRE part. I liked INARREARS, but not OVULATION or SALTPIT. FAX is an excellent three. I enjoyed the puzzle OK for a Tuesday, and would maybe rate it in the low Bs overall, but I agree with the C+ for ATBAT. LUNK is excellent (19A Galoot).

  2. 5:05
    Well, I got the Z in EDZWICK from ZENO and his paradox, always one of my favorites. I guess if you're going to have POO in the grid, it's better to clue it with a reference to The Mikado than some other way. I personally enjoyed CANOODLES crossing EROGENOUSZONES. I mean, where else would that be? And then we also got the PATS, so that's all good.

  3. I had cene (as in eocene) before ZOIC. Makes me feel like a science nerd to find two answers which fit that clue. Favorite answers? Maybe BLOOM and FINETUNES. I also enjoyed thinking of all the other Spanish (or Mayan, in theory) words which translate to "you are" for 61A (es, son, está, estás, están). But only one of those other than ERES is four letters.