Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wednesday, October 12, 2016, Jeff Chen


This is a cool idea: five phrases containing a word which when used in a different context, is a synonym for "enjoy". Each of the words is used in a different sense in its phrase. Just so we can figure out the theme, the squares are grayed in where the words are. Was that necessary? I suppose, without a revealer, there would be no way to be certain solvers figured it out. But now we'll never know...

I like FANCYPANTS the best of the lot, just because it's so disdainful. As in, "Ooh, that Queen Elizabeth II. She's so fancy-pants," said no one ever. My second favorite is CORNRELISH, because yum. The other three answers are not really standout.

The grid has a left-right mirror symmetry, which is cool looking (and works well with down theme answers - was there a specific reason these answers are down?). The grid lacks any kind of flow, though, especially in the SW and SE corners, which are pretty well cut off and act as minipuzzles.

That being said, there are a ton of nice answers here. 1A: Ladies' night attendee (GALPAL) was unexpected, for me (not sure why), and I'll give it a B+. I like that it sits right above PALEALE, while DEARTH is a wonderful word. My first entry confidently put in was ALBA (and why not?)

21D: Go completely dotty? (STIPPLE) is very nice. I am reminded of Georges Seurat. 58A: Surgical asst. (ORNURSE) amuses me. Did they really need to put the abbreviation in the clue? I can't imagine anybody's thinking to enter "operating room nurse" into the grid, and nobody calls them that anyway.

There's more glue than I like to see, but it arises from the placement of the theme answers two rows apart in the E and W. Thus, INF, partial IGO (but what a great song!), PDT, YER.

Overall, I liked it. A lot of women in the grid! I count four named, and two referred to (1A and GRAN), compared with two named men (one of whom is fictional).

- Colum


  1. 12:54
    I liked that ALBA is adjacent to LEER and PARTY (even with FAVOR attached). I knew that the Ali referenced was the daughter, but couldn't come up with her name without a few crosses (LAILA), which is right below LAY. NARNIA is nice to see in there, as is HOTDATE, right below the above-mentioned ORNURSE, which could be one, maybe. CICADAS always brings to mind "Terrapin Station," of course ("...crickets and cicadas sing, a rare and different tune"). I loved STIPPLE, too, but wasn't fooled for a second by the clue, and I don't think that the question mark was needed (certainly not if this appeared on a Friday or Saturday). Finally, we're planning on seeing the IMAX feature on extreme storms at the Mugar Auditorium in mid-November; should be a good show.


  2. Maybe they're Down because they indicate that you are "down with that?" Maybe?...

    I liked this one too. We were just in NYC, where we missed having friends in buildings with DOORMEN... sigh...