Thursday, July 14, 2016

Thursday, July 14, 2016, David J. Kahn


Boy oh boy it took me until the very end to figure out that it was the PHONETIC alphabet they were talking about. TANGO (7D: *Dance craze of the 1910s) should have tipped me off, I suppose, but I kept looking for more than just a circled letter with the asterisk clues. A rebus, a missing part, something, anything slightly tricky... but no. Just circled letters and asterisked clues, the answers to which were part of the phonetic alphabet. Hmph.

The theme may have been a little lackluster, but Frannie and I enjoyed many of the clues. 47A: Run out of clothes? (STREAK) is nice, and 50A: Spring breaks? (OASES) was very tricky! I mistakenly guessed "I am a rock" for 66A: 1969 Simon & Garfunkel hit in which "lie-la-lie" is repeatedly sung" (THEBOXER), and then when I realized that must be wrong, I spent about thirty seconds singing the song until I finally got to "... In the clearing stands a boxer..." And speaking of mistakes, I tried "beastly" for BESTIAL (44D: Inhuman), but I like the real answer better.

CORTEX, OVERTIP, CLICHE, CHINUP - all good. In the not so good camp I put TILTSAT (29D: Battles against) (and just yesterday I was praising "atilt..." - I told you, that's how it goes!), UTAHAN (I don't care if that's what they call themselves, I don't like it), and my least favorite - CDEF (13D: Scale opening). I had tried "dore" which I would have liked slightly better, but the sheer arbitrariness of CDEF is off-putting. Can I now expect to find "gabc" with a similar clue?

1A: Put next to (APPOSE) I give a B. No one ever says APPOSE, but I can't fault it for that.
Overall, I guess I'll call it a wash.

- Horace

p.s. I suppose Huygens will suggest that ATEAT (56A: Bothered no end) could have had a more suggestive clue...


  1. 8:19 (FWOE)
    I stared at the SW corner for a long time, where I had HO_E crossing PA_ArENA. Uh, yeah. You probably see the problem right there. That R, which was a guess at the cross of 62D: Honshu's ___ River (EDO), which I should have gotten from context, but I was seduced by the idea that the parade could be taking place in an Arena of some sort. So I finally put the S in (Pas Arena? It could be some corporate name, right?), and got the dreaded message. Oh well. I don't love the theme either, although it's nice that everything is symmetric. Anyway...

  2. The alphabet in this puzzle is not THE Phonetic Alphabet, IMHO. It is what the Wikipedia calls a Spelling Alphabet. The WP does say that a "spelling alphabet is also often called a phonetic alphabet, especially by amateur radio enthusiasts," which seems ham-fisted to me. :)