Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wednesday, June 1, 2016, Wren Schultz


Frannie here, your NYTXWP guide for the next 30 days. Welcome aboard. Fasten your seat belts. lt's likely to be a bumpy ride. :)

For starters, look how late I am with this review! Outrageous. It's been go go go all day. But now, finally, I can get down to business.

I liked the puzzle.


By Inklein at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Kidding! Here's the real review:

I'm dyin' to be a critic, but I was all a-trema solving this one. I thought it was a cute theme, featuring some of your better known diacritical marks, roughly one to a corner. My favorite has to be the "Metal Umlaut," as found in 17A. Rock's Blue ____ Cult (OYSTER). With the accent on diacritics in this puzzle came a pleasingly high incidence of foreign words, one of my few strong suits.

While I didn't have one iota of trouble with the theme answers I did have a breve spot of trouble with the 23A/23D cross. I went wrong with 23A. Orch. Section, at first going with CTR, before correcting it with 23D. "Elephant Boy" boy (SABU), but it wasn't grave.

Answers I was macron on:
27D. Arsonist, e.g. (FELON)  and 41D. Deceptive dexterity (SLEIGHT) - two nice words.
46D. Champagne's place (FRANCE) - a place many of this blog's reviewers recently vacationed!
60A. E-guffaw (LOL). That "e-" can be used with anything!

Answers I was kind of eth about:
14A. Dickinson with a modeling agency (JANICE) - never heard of her(?)
44D. Steaming bowlful (HOTSOUP) - the answer was fine, but there was something I didn't like about the clue...

In addition to the foreign words and diacritics, other answers were right in my wheelhouse: 32A. Erik of "CHiPS" (ESTRADA), 41A. Muscle builder for Popeye (SPINACH), and 51D. Em and Polly, in literature (AUNTS). The constructor must be a real special character.

~ Frannie (for real this time).

P.s. 1A. Screwed up big-time (BLEWIT) gets a A-. It's a nice start to the puzzle, and I like how it's difficult to parse properly when seen in all caps with no spaces.


  1. 15:10
    Hello Frannie. I agree with BLEWIT: nice start to the puzzle and the month. I don't like CMIX. Can't we get rid of clues like "Early 10th-century year?" I mean, really. I'd never heard of CEDILLA or CIRCUMFLEX, which are both excellent words, but the other two diacritical mark names are familiar to me, and of course, all of the marks themselves are known. HELIX is great, as is SISENOR and the full AXLROSE. BJORK makes two appearances in just a few days, probably pleasing Colum. ACID could have had a better clue.

    1. What, have you never taken a language class?

    2. Well, of course, but none that were particularly involved.

  2. 10:26

    I very much enjoyed this one, and it's a perfect one for Frannie "The Language Maven" to start with.

    I would not have been able to tell you that Blue ÖYSTER Cult had an umlaut, but it turns out that they were the first band to use the "rock," or "metal" umlaut. Fascinating.

    I frequently notice when a word is used that has a diacritic mark that is not used on the crossing word, so this was a very satisfying puzzle to complete. But where does the apostrophe in "Maître d'" go in the Across?? Or the space, for that matter....

    A fine debut puzzle for Mr. Schultz.

  3. 7:07 (FWOE) for spelling TILDE as TILDa. I shoulda known betta. Anyway, I love this for the peculiar placement of the theme answers and BJORK, as stated above.