Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tuesday, July 19, 2016, James Mulhern


I solved this last night just before falling asleep, and this morning I opened it up and thought, "What's that square outline in the middle of the grid?" Then when I clicked on the revealer, and all the theme clues lit up, well, ... IMLOVINIT. Three balls outside the zone, and two strikes right down the pipe. I love how the balls are all on the outer edge, too. They wouldn't have to be, of course, but somehow it just makes it that much cleaner. And lastly, about the theme, I briefly bristled at the square-ness of the strike zone (instead of being a tall rectangle), but then I realized that the strike zone changes depending on the size of the batter, and if a 15x15 puzzle grid were up there at the plate, it might well have a square strike zone. HAH!

Honestly, today I like the theme so much that I don't really even care how good the fill is, but let's look around a little anyway. 1A: German export (AUDI) is meh. C-. Maybe even D, just because it's always AUDI drivers who zoom up behind you and flash their lights asking you to get out of their way. 1D: Pop group that broke through at the 1974 Eurovision contest (ABBA), on the other hand, were I to rate it, would get an A. Eurovision gets mentioned in the NYTX!

BODACIOUS (38D: Attractive, informally) is a great word, but I don't really think of it as meaning attractive. Maybe more like "awesome." ANIMUS (57A: Enmity), too, I think of in the more general Latin way of "mind," or "soul." But still, they're good words. I love a SKOR bar, and I love AMES. :)

Thumbs up!

- Horace


  1. 5:28
    Wow, I didn't even notice the part where the strikes are in the middle and the balls are all way out of the zone! That's some sweet theme construction. He also fit in ATBAT and YANKEE (Babe Ruth). The only answer I out and out did not like was AREEL. Just to counteract that piece of annoyance, there's SKOR. Love those toffee candy bars.

  2. This was a pretty fun theme even without noticing the geographical placement of the strikes and balls, and even better then. It was theme dense, especially if you count ATBAT and ALLOUT (or does one even say that in baseball? I guess I know it from cricket), YANKEE, and NAT.

    Very little cruddy fill and I especially liked HELEN and YANKEE as clued (the latter had me misdirected to the biblical Ruth at first).

  3. 7:47
    Great theme. For junk, though, may I suggest ELSE, especially as clued (23A "What ____ is new?"). ZAPS is good, as is MONO, although I wouldn't necessarily want it. Of the theme answers, CANNONBALL gets the nod from me.