Monday, July 18, 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016, Jacob Stulberg


Waking up to yet another story of the murder of police officers, I can't help but react negatively to 1A: Police vehicle (COPCAR). I'm not going to give it a rating, so weary am I of such news. Similarly, EUROPEDAY (9D: Annual celebration when a 12-star flag may be flown) is tainted by the recent Brexit, and by Boris Johnson being chosen as Foreign Secretary... but this puzzle was undoubtedly submitted before any of that happened, and anyway, the problems of the world are not Mr. Stulberg's responsibility any more than they are mine or yours. Which is to say that they really are yours and mine. And everyone's. What are we to do? Yesterday our car was parked three spots away from one with a Trump bumper sticker. It would be COMIC if it weren't so worrisome, so sad, and so real.

But before this review turns into an OPEDCOLUMN (29D: Place for airing an opinion ... or what five of this puzzle's Down answers contain?), I'll get back to the review. The four (well, five really, if you count the revealer) theme answers all run down, and all contain the letter string "oped." SLOPEDOWN (33D: Decline, as a ramp) seems a little arbitrary, and PIANOPEDAL (3D: One of three at the base of a Steinway) is only slightly better, but the other two are fine. As themes go, it's not one of the more exciting ones.

The fill contains some nice bits, like HAYRIDES (17A: Harvest festival events), COURAGE (15A: Bravery), KNAVE (54A: Scoundrel), and PUMMEL (45A: Pound repeatedly). On the "not-so-APPROVED" list are EYEDUP (43A: Assessed visually) (I would almost always say "sized up" instead), the unusual plural ODEA (41A: Ancient Greek theaters), and ALEVE. We frown on product names in puzzles. OREO has been beaten into us by now, and it, at least, has an additional use as a word in modern culture.

Overall, I'll call it a wash. It's probably more my mood than the puzzle, though. I hope you enjoyed it.

- Horace


  1. 3:46
    OHSTOP, Horace. It was fine. I don't love EYEDUP, and STEWPAN just seems wrong to me. Do you ever stew something in a pan? No, it's a pot, right? I liked the revealer: it wasn't brilliant or anything, but it was a surprise. All of the theme answers have the string OPED across the two words. Second Seinfeld character reference in a week. NEWMAN!

  2. 7:11
    He returns from a week with seven additional people staying at the YBH and a weekend cleaning up. PUMMEL was my favorite. I didn't like STEWPAN ("pot," as Colum points out, is preferred). CAPO, KNAVE and NEWMAN were both good. The theme was OK. I enjoyed the BARS/DWI pairing. Decent for a Monday.

  3. I have seen the term STEWPAN a lot, but maybe I spend a little more time on the high-end cookware sites than either of you.

  4. I liked the theme, maybe because the theme answers went down (not just to be different, but to make them columns), maybe because it is a nice twist on an often-tired piece of crosswordese ("oped" as a four letter answer).

    Actually any puzzle which is (somewhat) light on proper names is going to get some points from me, and in general there aren't a lot of groaners, ODEA being I suppose the worst. I had a DNF on NEuMAN crossing DuI, though. Since either DWI or DUI works for the 61D clue, this does fall on the bad side of my "light on the proper names" preference.

    I'd never heard of a STEWPAN either, but if Horace assures me that the high end cookware sites have a VATful for a COST of some ELEVENS APOP, then I'm not going to argue with someone who wants one for their NEST.

    1. Hi Mr. Kingdon, thanks for reading and commenting! You make a good point about the theme being built around a bit of crosswordese - that makes me like it better too. And I also like your ignorance of Seinfeld, and preference (ok, perhaps this is only my preference) for the MAD Magazine spelling of the name. Ha!

    2. I didn't notice the column feature of the OPED downs. Nice!