Monday, July 4, 2016

Tuesday, July 5, 2016, Jules Markey


Boy, this sure made me chuckle when I figured it out. "Ex Marx despot." Ha! This is my favorite theme in quite some time. And I love all the theme answers, too. EXPOSTFACTO (17A: Retroactively, at law) is some nice Latin, MARXANDLENIN (29A: Red giants) has a fantastic clue, and DESPOTICALLY (44A: How Ivan the Terrible ruled) took me forever, but I very much enjoyed it once I got it. And to top it off, we've got bonus theme material with two "pirate" clues in the Downs (BUCCANEER & OLDSEADOG) and a final parting shot with ARRR (67A: Pirate's interjection). Very nice.

And with all that one might expect to encounter a few oddities, but the damage isn't too bad, really. I've never heard of the PETREL (43A: Long-winged seabird) (almost a 7-foot wingspan!), but maybe birders (especially those in the southern hemisphere) have. I didn't love UNS (61D: Little ____), ATS (39A: @@@), or DELA (57A: Hip-hop trio ____ Soul), but on the other hand, I did enjoy the odd past tenses MEANT and SPELT, REFLEX (6D: Involuntary action) and GROVEL (10D: Abase oneself) are good words, and MAKEPAR (29D: Finish a hole between a birdie and a bogey) makes me want to go out and play a round of disc golf! Additionally, 38A: "The ____ on you!" (classic gag line) (YOLKS) made me smile.

1A: Jazz legend ____ James (ETTA) gets a C. And I think the team for Hilary's presidential BID should maybe consider using "One no-trump" as a slogan. Heh.

Thumbs up!

- Horace


  1. 10:01
    I'm really behind; busy weekend here at the YBH, with Alana over Friday through Monday, the Paddly Whack/Poker Run and the Boat Parade, but I'm going to go back and comment on my missing puzzles today. Anyway, I, too, enjoyed the fill, even BROADS and EARVIN, which I knew, surprisingly to some, probably. Interesting having STARR clued with an other-than-Ringo deal. Loved the pirate mini-theme. I also knew HUGO from the clue (Isaac Asimov was twice a recipient, I seem to recall), and who doesn't love ROUE?

  2. Yeah, I liked this one pretty well. As Horace notes, ATS is terrible. PETREL is not a bird I'm very familiar with. Seems like that name covers a lot of birds. You really have a whole range of options for coffee synonyms, don't you. So, what to make of BROADS? Big topic over on Rex. I tend not to be bothered by non-PC entries, but is this one a little bit worse than most? I mean, how close is the clue to "Jews, impolitely" or "Homosexuals, impolitely"? Maybe not close at all, I'm just asking. I wish it would have been "skirts" instead of BROADS. I guess my feeling--subject to change--is that "impolitely" is too close to "offensively" or "vulgarly." I wish BROADS hadn't been in there.

  3. 4:59
    A tidy little puzzle. I agree with ET59 that BROADS was a problem that should have been reworked. But I love the theme to death. Isn't it great that "despot" by itself wouldn't have worked because the accent is on the first syllable, but in DESPOTICALLY, the accent is on the second, which makes it work? I had no idea what was coming until the reveal was finished. That's nice theming.

  4. I enjoyed the theme, but I have a quibble with OLDSEADOG qua pirate. In my vast, sea-faring experience, the term refers more commonly to any mariner. According to the Wikipedia, there were some Sea Dogs who were pirates, but as they were authorized by Queen Elizabeth I, I'm not sure how informal they were. Or, maybe Mr. Markey meant: Pirates, inform-ally, and he was letting us know about this alternate definition. Har har!
    I found the clue at 54A. Bit of apparel with a ring neck kinda odd. Is that how young people describe TEEs?

    I think 42D. Home of the Brave? (ATL) is a nice clue for a tired abbreviation.
    The Faerie Queen appeared again, but I was ready for her this time.
    Oh yes, and in re: BROADS, I didn't like it, and said as much to Horace on our way into the office this morning.