Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016, Robert Cirillo


A word ladder today, running from SICK to WELL in six easy steps, with two bonus answer/clues in the center - ANAPPLEADAY (30A: How to avoid becoming 1-Across, so they say) and CHICKENSOUP (49A: Aid for getting 73-Across, so they say). The word ladder itself is neatly done, and the two eleven-letter answers tie it together. I like it.

There are a few unfortunate occurrences - GUNG (46A: ____-ho), LESE (36A: ____- majesté), and ATWT (43A: No. on a periodic table), for example. I'm pretty tired of that last one, but maybe not as tired of it as I am of AMTOO (41A: "Are not!" retort) or ATEAT (66A: Really bothered). ONS, on the other hand, is saved by its very tricky clue - "Switch ups?" That question mark is definitely justified!

But that last paragraph sounds awfully negative, and I didn't feel that way while solving. In fact, my experience was quite the opposite. I liked the long non-theme Downs CENTRALBANK (The Fed, for example) and DONTGOTHERE ("Can we not talk about that!"), and (ZIPLINES (Wires for thrill-seekers), COALESCE (Come together), and APOGEES (Orbital high points) are all quite zippy. I even like the two "un" answers UNLEASH (22D: Let loose) and UNREAD (47D: Not book-smart).

1A can't really be rated, as it is theme material, so I'll skip that. My first confident entry was THOS (5A: Pres. Jefferson).

Overall, another thumbs up from this quarter. Looks like the month is set to go out with a bang.

- Horace


  1. 4:36
    Ahhh... Ella. Very nice. I too liked this puzzle, and enjoyed the solve. I was able to enter some parts of the word ladder without crosses, and that was fun. I don't love SUBMERSE. I wanted SUBMERgE, but figured out that was wrong early enough to avoid the finishing error. My first confident answer was IRONON. My favorite answer is OUTTOWIN, because it looks like a sign you might find at a car mechanic's office if he or she was picking up a wreck. Out towin'. Just sayin'.

  2. 9:36
    Word ladders are a fine theme on which to build a puzzle. I, too, enjoyed this one. Didn't love the plural APOGEES (but liked that ASTRO was in there, even though it was sports-clued), but the plural ZIPLINES didn't bother me too much. Nice touch with USMAIL and POSTAL being side-by-side. I agree with Colum on the weakness of SUBMERSE, and if one just parses ATEAT a little differently, a better clue could be offered.