Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016, David Steinberg


Kind of a funny theme today of adding "ster" to one word in a common two-word expression, as in DRAGSTERQUEEN (44A: Female street-racing champion?), and FLASHMOBSTER (52A: Ostentatious member of the Mafia?). That last one would be better as "Flashy mobster," but there's no such phrase as "Flashy mob." And that's the drawback here - the answers ought to be funny, but the wacky cluing just doesn't quite work.

Aside from the theme, though, we have two nice long verticals - PARATROOPER (11D: High military figure?) (again, the clue just seems a little off) and RECORDLABEL (24D: RCA, for one). FOSCLE (6D: Ship part spelled with two apostrophes) is short for "forecastle," and Wikipedia actually has it abbreviated with three apostrophes, thus: fo'c's'le. SQUEEZE (43D: Tight hug) is good, as are CHASESCENE (17A: Standard feature of an action film) and OPENSEASON (58A: Prime hunting time) (isn't it not prime, but legal hunting time?), but having such long Across answers adjacent to theme answers seems a little odd.

1A: Fast-food chain known for its root beer (AANDW) gets a C. It was also my first confident answer.

I guess I didn't love this one. There's a lot of ELOI, ABEL, NYE, OPEC, IBET, TAUAAH kind of stuff, as well as proper nouns like ESTES, ROCHE, STYNE, and EISNER. And can we count DOPEY (35D: One of a Disney septet) in there too? I really disliked 41A: ____ cent (PER), but I smiled at 53D: "Choosy ____ choose Jif" (ad slogan) (MOMS).

Not all bad, but not all good.

- Horace


  1. 4:05
    Way too easy for a Wednesday, IMO. I was confused that CHASESCENE was not a theme entry for a short period, but got over it. FOCSLE reminds my of HMS Pinafore: "Well, your honor, love burns as brightly in the fo'c'sle as it does on the foredeck..." I agree there's a bit much in the way of crosswordese (ELOI and AGLET? in the same puzzle?). But it didn't really hold me up much. Clearly.

    1. P.S. Is that Benedict Arnold? He was a traitor, not a spy. Nathan Hale was the SPY.

    2. It came up when I googled Nathan Hale. Are you telling me you can identify them both visually?

      Anyway, yes, it does come up quite a bit more when I google Benedict Arnold, so I'll change to something that is definitely Nathan Hale. Nice catch!

    3. No... I reverse googled the image.

  2. 11:56
    Wow...tough crowd. But I agree that it was just an amusing theme, not a laugh-out-loud one. the AANDW fast-food chain is not known to me. And yes, PER cent was terrible...terrible. HIPSTERFLASK was the funniest theme answer.