Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday, November 27, 2016, Matt Ginsberg


I was hoping that the theme would revolve around different mixed drinks, but no – the mix here is two answers, each independently clued, woven into a third answer, also clued. Sometimes, when I was a little stuck, I tried to just solve the combined clue, and then verified with the parts. Nothing particularly funny or entertaining about the theme, just three words. Still, not bad. And since it's Mr. Ginsberg (creator of the crossword-solving computer program "Mr. Fill"), I wondered if the puzzle were just created as a way to test, and possibly improve, Dr. Fill.

I very much enjoyed some of the clues today. 128A: Makes it? (TAGS) brought a big smile. Likewise, TREAT (106D: October option) seemed very youthful. And the third clue/answer in 119A, "network with 303 stations" (P[A]RI[S]ME[T]R[O]) had me stumped for a long time. That whole SW corner was tough, filled as it was with obscure lizards, foreign languages, and proper nouns (AGAMA, EDDAS, TARDE, ADEUXOMAR, MTADAMS, and OSA). Oh, and 107D: Counterpart of "stand" (HITME). Whew! That took me forever!

Really did not like SNAILED (64A: Moved at a crawl), and there was kind of a lot of SCLERA, ELKO, SERE, APIA, OTERINEHI-type stuff. But then there was also flashy fill like EMBLAZON (46A: Adorn brilliantly) and SEXTANTS (95A: Mariners' aids). And I kind of like ATEATON (77A: Overindulged) (perfect for Thanksgiving) and GETAB (57D: Do pretty well gradewise).

1A: They often have small tables (CAFES) was my first answer, and I'll give a C+. And that's maybe what the puzzle should get, too. Or maybe a B-.

- Horace

p.s. You can read Mr. Gaffney's commentary at In it, he tells that Dr. Fill "found the puzzle very easy," because all of the combined words are, in fact, words, and Dr. Fill knows words. He did make one mistake, though, which is odd, but you'll have to click through to read about that.


  1. 55:43
    Nice, tough Sunday puzzle, landing on the higher end of my 40-60 minute preference. SNAILED is terrible, but with a large puzzle, one is bound to get some junk like that. I'm not familiar with a whole lot of stuff here: SABRA, AGAMA, NAURU, AEREO, MTADAMS, NOYES, Del TACO and BIASTIRE, to name a few, but great cluing like 26D Follower of an Alaskan team (DOGSLED) made up for it.

  2. Standard time for me, my mother, and Cece. I agree: I didn't answer a single theme answer by putting words together. Instead I just answered the combined clue. They're clever, but it would have been more of a puzzle if they'd left out the combined portion of the clue. I suspect they decided that would be too hard for a Sunday.