Saturday, September 10, 2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016, Peter Wentz


Some very nice entries in today's puzzle. WIGGLEROOM (10D: Leeway) might be my favorite, but PHONETAG (9D: Frustrating exchange), NERDALERT (65A: "Ha ha, what a dork!") (I don't think the "Ha ha" was necessary), and SPAREME (1D: Comment made with an eye roll) are also quite good. Unfortunately, I didn't really like 1A: Got smart (SPIFFEDUP). If they mean "got dressed up in a 'smart' fashion," then I guess it kind of works, since I associate "spiffiness" with appearance, but the trouble is that nobody would ever say that. "Oh, I need ten more minutes before we go out tonight because I want to get smart..." No. D. Now if they had gone back and used "fop" again, I might have liked it better. "1A: Like a fop" would have been more my style, as it were.

Let's not get bogged down, but I do want to mention just a few more that I didn't think worked well before we finish on a high note. TART for "41A: One rarely seen outside its shell?" is trying a little too hard to be cute, "36A: Grab (onto)" doesn't seem just right for GLOM, which I think of more as "stick to" than as "grab onto." It's a fine point, but I make it. And what of TOEJAM? If it really is what the interwebs tell me it is - stuff that collects between the toes, then A. The clue "43A: It's around a foot" does not work (that would be "shoe" or "sock"), and B. Just no. No, no, no. Not on Saturday morning. Not ever.

And one last thing, "27D: Like Y's" (NEXTTOLAST) has a good answer, but it doesn't need that apostrophe.

There's good material to talk about, too, so let's end with that. I liked the slang usage of 50A: Scratch" to mean MOOLA (although I would have put an H on the end), I loved the clue for INERTIA (39D: Trouble getting started), and PALMOLIVE (60A: Brand once pitched with the slogan "You're soaking in it") made me think of Frannie. She and her sister suffer from self-diagnosed "Pop Culture Tourrette's," and each of them has said "You're soaking in it," for almost no reason at all, hundreds of times over the years that I've known them.

The first entry I put in confidently was WOODS (10A: Section of a golf bag). The last, which I put in unhappily, was FMRI (5D: Modern brain-scanning procedure, for short).

On balance, I liked it more than I disliked it, but I had a few serious problems with it.

- Horace


  1. 44:18
    What, you didn't want to put bacON in where MELON belongs, Horace? I don't think I've ever heard the name ALEXROCCO, but the crosses were gettable, albeit slow to come (the NW is where I was bogged down, mostly because I had the aforementioned bacON in there, entered hochimiNH at 15A and because I, too, didn't get SPIFFEDUP for a long time for the reason stated. I love any mention of MAEWEST, but it's a shame that it crosses TOEJAM which, I agree, should never appear again in a puzzle. Interesting trivia on the LEMUR and, for me, DUMDUMS, and I loved the clue for LSD (33A "Tabs"), although I didn't need the quotes. I come down on the side of thumbs up, but there were some problems, as Horace points out.

  2. 21:27
    OK, 3 things: First, remarkably, I never thought of bacON. I'm sure it's because I already had the M____ in there from SPAREME, but still! Second, ALEXROCCO isn't a name that rolls of the tongue, I'll admit, but the Godfather is one of those movies that most people have seen (at least in parts) a figurative dozen times, so they've most likely been exposed to it in the credits, at least subliminally. I didn't put it in straight away, but I felt it coming with a few crosses, if you know what I mean. And lastly, I regret that I may never listen to Come Together the same way again, because apparently a TOEJAM football is just a very large TOEJAM, and that's gross. On the other hand, one reference I found suggests that TOEJAM football is nothing more than playing "football" (Brit.) barefoot. Perhaps I'll convince myself that that is what John Lennon was talking about.

    Oh, yes, Horace, the Archivist suggests that getting SPIFFEDUP is a legitimate British expression.

    1. I don't question getting "spiffed up," I question "got smart" as an equivalent. Sure, a "smart dresser" is a thing, but "get" or "got smart," I don't think so.

  3. Weird... I definitely commented on this puzzle on Saturday, but it's missing. Anyway, I finished in 20:32. Nice puzzle.