Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016, Don Gagliardo and Zhouqin Burnikel


As Churchy La Femme used to say in Pogo: "Don't you hate it when Friday the 13th comes on a Thursday?"

In fact, this felt like a Friday themeless. I almost forgot that it was Thursday when I saw the shape of the grid, but all those circled letters gave it away. I actually think that here is an example of a theme where the circled letters are necessary. Otherwise it really would have been a themeless.

I've seen this sort of thing before, I think (although I can't recall when). I think this is well done, though. All the theme answers are symmetrically placed, even if the circles aren't. I actually figured it out with 39A: Draft choice (PALE[ALE]), which was amusing because we'd just had it in its natural form in yesterday's puzzle. After that, it was mostly a matter of figuring out the theme answers, and that was fun. My favorite is INSTANT[TAN], although I do love a WHOOPIE[PIE].

The NE and SW corners were once again isolated. I was able to make my into the SW using "Love Story"'s SEGAL, set in Harvard, and filmed there as well. Really a terrible movie, all told. My entry into the NE was off, though, when I guessed the wrong deadly sin at 9D (sloTH fit so well!). I do think those corners are very well done though. I particularly liked NOBODY (Emily Dickinson clue) two columns over from ANGELOU.

There's a fair amount of glue needed to make the diagonal sections work, but that was okay. TTOP, YDS, ELEM, SPFS. Otherwise it was doable.

1A: Much police paperwork (REPORTS) is a very bland way to start the puzzle, and I give it a C for average. My first confident entry came at 3D: Basic linguistic unit (PHONEME), which I imagine made Frannie smile.

Nice Thursday. Let's hope the turn matches in quality!

- Colum

1 comment:

  1. 29:44
    I thought this was great. The circles were definitely necessary, and my favorite is WHOOPIE[PIE] since we're about to head up to where my favorite of that treat is obtained, although the particular establishment that provides it, the Ocean Park Grocery, is closed now for the season. My only complaint with the theme answers is EARTH[ART], a term that I'm sure must be perfectly acceptable, but I've never heard it. I loved the Dickinson clue and answer, although I find it sad, and I, too, entered sloTH off of the ___TH, but abandoned it with GARBAGE[BAG]. Great Thursday, even with the necessary glue.