Friday, December 9, 2016

Friday, December 9, 2016, David Phillips

13:13 (FWOE)

Boy, did today's puzzle seem like I was just going to speed right through it. I confidently put in SCAMPS at 1A: Little rascals (gets a B+, and would have been better but for that -S at the end). Then I just as confidently put in MelISSA at 4D for Ms. Mayer (MARISSA). All seemed well when I was able to put in MELISSAMCCARTHY. Only (and it took quite some time to see), there was the unallowable crossing of the same name twice. Since that corner was cut off from the rest of the puzzle, I had no help from outside.

Some great clues today. That NW corner alone has 1D: Shake on the dance floor (SHIMMY) - nice use of a noun instead of the verb form; 2D: One serving a function (CATERER) - excellent clue, no question mark needed; and 16A: Say, say, say? (ITERATE) - here the clue is literally repeating itself, not attempting to state "Say 'say', say".

My error was a typo: I put in MAGNOLoAS and didn't realize it until I finished the puzzle. Really, though, I should have. I stared at that DENTAL Po_K for a long time, trying to figure out what the heck they were getting at. Later when I filled in the excellent 30D: Suckers (VACUUMS), I didn't look back to see what I'd filled in.

CHICAGOSUNTIMES is fine, although I'm missing "the" in the clue. Or should that be there? Maybe it's okay without it, but I'd be inclined to call it the New York Times, not "New York Times". That feels weird to say.

ALOHAOE was a tough get. All those vowels. And right next to LIAISON! So many vowels. All the vowels.

The only answer I don't really like in the whole puzzle is ALPES. French names of mountain ranges... I mean, it's okay because at least the mountains in question are partially in France. I was going to put another example of a non-French mountain range in a French version as a less acceptable answer, but none of them work! Les Rocheuses? Yeah, that's okay, because they're in Canada too. Les Andes? Oh, yeah, that's the same in English... Hmmm. Anyway, I don't love it.

The topical answer for the win today is at 52A: "The great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition," per Adam Smith (SCIENCE). We need a lot more science, then, in today's world.

- Colum


  1. 30:02 (FWOE)
    My error was a tense thing, which I should have caught both from the clue and from the cross (ADELINE/HADATIT) I put an "s" in there. Other than that, this went right along. In conversation, I guess I'd use a "the" with CHICAGOSUNTIMES, but maybe not when referencing it. Even though I'm anti-sports in a crossword, I liked the clue for MARLINS (50A Team "spawned" in 1993). And I agree with the excellent SCIENCE quote, and with the need for a more prominent role for it, especially early on in the educational system. Speaking of SCIENCE, the PYREX/ANTHRAX cross was good, even though the latter references the band (I don't believe that I could name a song from them) instead of the disease, brilliantly used in Monty Python's "Crunchy Frog" skit regarding the confection labeled "Anthrax Ripple." I won't mention TEABAGS. ALOHAOE went in with just a few crosses, although I've never seen the "Lilo & Stitch" movie.

  2. 17:28
    Boy, ALOHAOE was decidedly slow in coming to me! In fact, the first O in that answer was the last one I put in, and I got it by running the alphabet on S_AR (Take off). That whole SW was tough for me today, but I really ended up liking it. I was surprised by NOONERS (Certain trysts). That's ok now?

    Also, elsewhere, I tried and tried to make sense of 16A as "Say 'say' say." And I'm pretty sure I learned that ITERATE essentially means "reiterate" from crossword puzzles. From then on I have avoided the latter word altogether, as it seems superfluous. People at work love to say that something is an iterative process, but they also love to say "let me reiterate." Grrrr...