Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunday, October 23, 2016, Ellen Leuschner and Jeff Chen


I just want to point out that my niggle with yesterday's test tube answer is borne out by today's last across answer at 123A: ____ dish (PETRI). Boom. Mic drop.

Oh, wait. Right, I have to write a review.

The theme here is very well worked out. There's no real trick to it: the clues explain the way each answer is going to work. But there's a nice consistency to the overall thing: three "over" and three "under" answers. Each time, the answer is actually appropriately under or over the word that acts as the key to the answer. Very nice.

I love NOSPRINGCHICKEN for "over" the HILL. It's definitely the strongest of the answers. Coming in second is INSEVENTHHEAVEN for "over" the MOON. The others just don't have the same sparkle, but they're fine.

There aren't a lot of marquee answers in the fill. I love DADBLASTED at 2D: Gosh-darn. OPERACOATS doesn't feel as good. I wanted it to be a gown, not a coat. It does appear to be a real thing, just not one I knew.

Similarly, in the SE corner, I liked MALEVOLENT a lot, but 75D: Target customer of Yelp (STOREOWNER) feels not so great. I get it that Yelp wants business owners to put their operations on the app for people to review, but it's so nonspecific.

In other news, my first confident answer came at 1D: Signature Obama legislation, for short (ACA). That's a 3-letter abbreviation that's going to stay with us for a while. 1A: Take on (ADOPT) is straightforward, and gets a C. Highlights of the fill include CAPITALW, SEDARIS, and OCANADA. I'm not sure having the last one made EDEL and DANL okay.

I finished this puzzle in average Sunday time, and I enjoyed the theme, so I'll say overall thumbs up.

- Colum


  1. 59:34
    Whew! That's a real squeaker for my 45-60 minute requirement of being a reasonable-difficulty Sunday puzzle. A couple of sticking points for me: I wanted Atwar instead of AFOUL at 28D In conflict, but obviously could not get the crosses to work out; SWANN was ungettable as clued (81D Lynn in the Pro Football Hall of Fame), and should obviously have been clued with a Proust reference. Nice misdirectional clue for ELENA (116A John Paul's successor). I never heard of CATBOATS, and I, like Colum, kept trying to get OPERAgOwnS to fit with the crosses. FLEADIP - yuck. I will never need to use such a product. And TWOFER reminds me of 30 Rock, of course.

  2. I think this is the first Sunday puzzle I've done all month! Whaa?? I might go back and do the others, though, since I have done every single puzzle since this blog started, and I'm just not sure I can leave those grids empty.

    Anywho... this was fine. I have never, ever heard DADBLASTED before. Isn't it "dag-blasted?" Oh well... I guess it's both. And CATBOATS is new to me, too. But SWANN, for me anyway, went in immediately.

    The theme is fine, and some good answers have been called out above. It was fine.