Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tuesday, August 16, 2016, Lynn Lempel


I definitely had no idea what was going on with the theme until the revealer, so that's a point in the theme's favor. On the other hand, the theme is anything but NARROWLYDEFINED. Two word phrases where the first word has two Rs in it (somewhere) and the second word has two Ds in it (also somewhere). I might be a little overly precise about this, but I would have liked it better had all the words had double Rs and double Ds (no jokes from you, Huygens!). Or all the letters beginning and ending their respective words.

In any case, the revealer, ARTOODETOO (or more to the point, R2-D2) describes the letter placement situation. Of the phrases themselves, ROGERMUDD drops to the bottom of the river immediately. I think I've mentioned this before, but I think Mr. Mudd's recognizability has dropped quite a bit, not to take away anything from the importance of what he has accomplished. SURFERDUDE on the other hand, definitely rides above the waves. REARENDED is neither much nor little.

I also find the fill to be hit or miss. 11D: "Um... excuse me?" (DOYOUMIND) is excellent, as is 35D: Group led by Richard the Lionheart (CRUSADERS). On the other hand, ABANDONED is okay, but we have to have both STROM and RYAN (as well as SDAK) to make it all work. Hmmm. CARDEALER is okay.

Otherwise there is a surfeit of 3-letter answers, with the rows of USB USO MOE and EDS DIE LIE being the most obvious examples. 1A: Sounds from schnauzers (ARFS) gets a D+. I wish the answer had been "waus", as a German dog is said to say either "wuff wuff" or "wau wau". With German Ws, that would be "vow vow..." 1A was not my first answer, as there were too many possibilities. I put in 1D however, which made 1A clear.

- Colum


  1. The theme isn't especially newsworthy but I enjoyed the puzzle. I guess for one thing I've always had more love than most people for three letter answers. Don't know why, maybe I just need to do the puzzle for another few years to have seen them all too many times? I liked the timely Olympic clue for EPEES. And we know it is a MINI rather than a MIdI because it is supposed to be revealing. I thought the clue for SPF was clever. Oh, and I was racking my brain for birch relatives - aspen, poplar, cottonwood, but I missed ALDER at first because it is smaller and the shrubs usually don't get the same attention as the trees. Very unfair, that.

  2. 6:36
    OK, I'll stay away from the double D jokes, as well as REARENDED. The mention of ARTOODETOO is timely, as Kenny Baker has just passed. I didn't love the clue for BEET (21A ____ greens). SURFERDUDE is probably my favorite theme answer, but ROGERMUDD isn't that obscure, is he? I couldn't have named ROXIE; luckily the crosses are quite fair. This, in general, seemed a bit easy for a Tuesday.

  3. 6:37

    "Get's lucky with one's car downtown, say" as a clue for PARKS I found quite odd. Does one ever just drive downtown hoping to get a space?! If you're driving into town, you are intending to park, you're not just seeing if you'll get lucky. On street or in a garage, you will park. You're not just going to turn around and go home again. Are you??

    And while I'm at it, I've never heard of a perimeter either. And finally, although two years ago I would have called all post-grad papers THESES, I have been informed that THESES are for Masters degrees, and "dissertations" are for Ph.D.s. At least that's what some of my colleagues at Harvard insist.