Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Tuesday, November 1, 2016, Ruth Bloomfield Margolin


An odd, rhyming theme today, with a pentad of absurd "possessive country" combinations. TOGOSLOGOS (15A: Commercial symbols in Lomé), which is interesting for exposing many of us to the capital city of Togo, and YEMENSLEMONS (19A: Basis of a refreshing Mideast beverage?), which may or may not be interesting because of the existence of a fruit called the Yemenite citron, which contains no juice vesicles in its segments. Sooo.... not that refreshing a beverage. FRANCESDANCES (36A: Gavotte, minuet and cancan?) is probably my favorite of the answers, both for its reference to France and its alternate reading of "Frances dances," ("Actress McDormand does a slow waltz?").

Another odd feature of this grid is that below the top and above the bottom theme answers, we have a non-theme answer of the exact same length. ALLOSAURUS (18A: Reptile at the top of the Jurassic food chain) is a nice answer. When I was little, I would pit the allosaurus figurine against a t-rex, and when I read this clue I wondered how allosaurus had been declared the top of the food chain, but in reality, the two animals were not on earth at the same time. Ol' T-Rexy wouldn't show up for nearly 100 million years after the last allosaurus keeled over. Still, had they been able to fight, I think the T-Rex would have won.

So anyway... Looking around the grid, I see such colorful answers as SNEEZY, CRIMESPREES, MOUSY, and INNERBEAUTY. And I like the multiple-word entries like ISAYSO, INHERE, TINEAR, and TOPHAT. Those are always slightly more difficult for me to see. I also see bits of glue, like ANIL, AMBI, THOS, and ACA, but overall, I give this odd duck a thumbs up.

INCH (1A: Tailor's unit) I give a C+. I tried "yard" at first, and its incorrectness made EBOLA (5A: African virus) my first correct entry.

Before I go, I'd like to thank Colum for a very entertaining month of puzzle reviews. To me, it really felt like he was firing on all cylinders most of the time. Here's hoping I can step up my game to continue that kind of quality. And maybe, just maybe, we'll get Frannie back in December.

Rabbit, Rabbit, readers. Happy November!

- Horace


  1. 5:03 (FWOE)
    Thanks for the shout-out, Horace! I enjoyed this silly theme as well. Is it a problem that we get LESOTHO, another country, not in a theme answer? My error came at the crossing of INHERE and ZEENA. I chose ImHERE (I'm here), which seemed odd, but I don't recall Ethan Frome's wife, so no help there. I also tried "yard" at 1A!

  2. I also had ImHERE, which I guess is slightly worse than INHERE, but one really needs the wife to distinguish, I would think.

    oRAtING before PRAYING slowed me down a bit but the crosses made this clear.

    Oh and I did want TeaHAT instead of TOPHAT. I don't even know if there is something called a tea hat, but I really want there to be.

    1. If there were such a thing as a tea hat, they would have worn one on Downton Abbey. All I can think of now, though, is that it could/should be a "mild oath" version of "asshat."

  3. 10:26
    ZEEMA people? C'mon. Anyway I enjoyed the silliness of the theme, and even having ROMEOROMEO in there as a double, although we can't rhyme with the same word, and he isn't a country, so.... And yeah, dinosaurs were around for a very, very long time, so far around 66X as long as the "homo" genus. Probably if we had to fight Homo erectus, we would no longer be top of the food chain (hand-to-hand, of course). Always nice having ASS in the grid, even with its non-blue clue 13D Total jerk. I loved CRIMESPREE, the clue for SHIRTS (42D Skins' opponent in a pickup game), and ASSORT. I tried SlEEpY at first where SNEEZY belongs, but the crosses set that right. TINEAR is great, and NIP, were it only clued with the tiny bottles, would have been excellent.