Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016, Tom Pepper


This is a very cute theme, which I chuckled over as I solved the puzzle. The clues are each a type of job, "by trade", each translating to a PRO___ word. I liked PROCURER best: I'd like to think that's my job description. And believe me, there are plenty of amateur curers out there on the interwebz. I liked PROPOSER the least, simply because the term (one who proposes) feels much less acceptable a term than the other three.

The revealer... works and doesn't work. If you think of it as a pure description of the form of each theme answer, namely pro-vocation, that's fine. But you can't have a pro at being a vocation in the way you can have a pro at filing, if you see what I mean. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the answer.

I was concerned in the NW corner that the puzzle would play hard. I got 1A: Twosome on TMZ, e.g. (ITEM) immediately, and give it a C+. But I didn't see a lot out of there at first. In addition, there were two of those crosswordy clues with the parentheses (Attribute (to), etc.) - there were two others in the rest of the grid as well, which struck me as more than average. And EVONNE Goolagong is still not something I can quickly recall (despite commenting on her in an earlier blog post, and putting up a picture!).

Anyway. I did make it out eventually, and the rest of the puzzle didn't play too hard. I like 45D: Word that brings a smile (CHEESE). I don't like 51D: Liberal, disparagingly (LEFTY). Is that actually disparaging? Just seems like a description. I also like HROSS, not because I had much interest in the man himself, but because it looks like Old English in the puzzle (Hrothgar and so on).

Also good: 35D: Person who had a major part in the Bible? (MOSES). Hah!

So I guess it was up and down, but I enjoyed solving it.

- Colum


  1. 13:11
    It took me a short while to figure out the theme, and I quite enjoyed it. I loved PROFILERS because I prepare taxes for several people/couples each year and because we avidly view "Criminal Minds." LUSHES had a nice clue (51A Boozehounds), even if a bit obvious. ZEE (7D Waltz ending?) didn't fool me for a second, and needed no question mark, although that decision is probably a toss-up for Shortz on a Wednesday. I, too, loved HROSS and CHEESE. Good clue, also, for PONG (54D Beer ____).

  2. 9:21
    Loved the theme AND the revealer, and there wasn't as much dross as yesterday. IMPUTE and TORRID are nice up there in the NW, and although I remember EVONNE Goolagong's name, I never remember that it starts with an E, which made ITEM that much more difficult for me to get. She's like Erma Bombeck, whose name I also never remember how to spell. Maybe now that I've written both in the same paragraph, and seen once and for all that they both start with E, I will remember it. That would be nice.

    "Choir's support" (RISER) was tricky. I enjoyed the clue "Something to make a hash of" for POTATO, and although I don't fully agree with "View through a wide-angle lens" for PANORAMA, I still like the fill. Lots of good elements. Solid Wednesday.

  3. 9:18
    I agree that the Liberal-LEFTY clue is a bit off. Historically, "Liberal" itself gained a note of disparagement more than "LEFTY" in a politically context thanks to the 1988 election when George H. W. Bush used the term "The 'L' word" to describe his Democratic opponent, Michael Dukakis. Prior to that, Liberal was just a descriptor, but by calling it/him "The L word," and making Dukakis appear defensive rather than proud of his more liberal positions, Bush, quite successfully in hindsight, perceptually equated Liberal with a swear word. Republicans have used it that way, with admittedly decreasing success, for nearly 30 years.

    EVONNE Goolagong was at the peak of her career when I was becoming aware of tennis, so it's a name I know well, although, like Horace, I seem to continually need to be reminded that it starts with an "E." But her Australian Aboriginal heritage makes her more than just another champion tennis player in this context. Like Arthur Ashe of the same era, she was a minority individual who broke barriers to reach the height of her sport. She is also one of just three, I think, mothers to have won Wimbledon.