Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wednesday, September 14, 2016, Dan Schoenholz


A slightly cryptic revealer today - 25A: With 36-Across, what this puzzle features, literally (PICTURE / FRAME). And then we have 50A: Organization that honored those referenced in the 25-/36-Across, with "the" (ACADEMY). So the ACADEMY honored things in the PICTURE FRAME. What are those things? The movies that are named around the perimeter of the puzzle. AVATAR, JFK, REDS, AMADEUS, and the six others, have all been nominated for Best Picture by the AMPAS. Not bad. I like the uncommon perimeter theme, and I like that they were all clued (as much as they could be) in a non-movie way. And for the record, I've seen seen five of the movies: AVATAR, REDS, AMADEUS, TESS, and PLATOON. I wonder if there's also an inside theme of a new baby girl ONTHEWAY for the puzzle constructor? If that's true, it's even more impressive that the fill stays decent throughout.

And speaking of the fill, SANAA (33A: Yemeni capital), though unfamiliar, is perfectly fair game as a world capital, even though that status has, apparently, been brought into question. Wikipedia tells me that after a coup d'├ętat a couple of years ago, Aden was declared the temporary capital. Still, SANA'A has been inhabited for over 2,500 years, so it's about time I get to know it better! Here's a photo of the old part of town, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Beautiful.

There's really little to quibble about here. Maybe the commercial, non-word, partial GRO (49A: Miracle-____ (garden care brand)), or other partials ITA (28A: Give ____ go) or IMET (56A: "How ____ Your Mother"), but those are minor, and they are offset by fancy fill like ELIXIR (11D: Magic potion), VARIETAL (2D: Wine from a single type of grape), CICERO (60A: "O tempora! O mores!" orator) (You said it, Marcus Tullius!), and ORNAMENT (39D: The jaguar on a Jaguar's hood, e.g.).

Very nice Wednesday. Onward to The Turn!

- Horace


  1. 5:32
    I liked the theme a lot, once I figured out what the heck they were talking about. I've seen seven of these movies (AVATAR, AMADEUS, REDS, SELMA, PLATOON, RAY, and GHOST). I am amused that TESS is clued once again with reference to Dick Tracy, just like on Sunday. I particularly enjoyed ELIXIR next to DORITO. The sublime and the ridiculous, side by side.

  2. 7:50
    I enjoyed the SILENTL clue and the theme. I've seen AMADEUS, AVATAR, JFK, PLATOON, RAY and GHOST. If I saw any of the others, I was drunk and don't remember. I'd rather have seen a photo of ANGELINA than of SANAA, which is often seen in crosswords, but that's not my call. I wanted to see some NOH theater when in Japan, but it didn't happen due to a few factors. Maybe next time. AORTAS?

  3. I just have to weigh in on Thursday. Wow. After a full half-hour of zippo--and I mean NOTHING other than a couple wrong answers--I finally got it. The southwest was the first to cave.

    1. I now have my Thursday review up. I agree that it was definitely a "wow" kind of puzzle. I loved it!