Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sunday, December 11, 2016, Tom McCoy


This puzzle was too easy by half. The theme, while fun to think about, wasn't much of a challenge to figure out as I went through. And the fill wasnt terribly challenging either. I once had a theory that the Sunday puzzles went through a rotation of difficulty over the course of a month. I didn't have the wherewithal to follow that theory through, but if I was right, this puzzle was on a Monday level for me.

In terms of the theme, I liked REALNUMBER the best. This seems the most correct of all of the answers. My daughter is learning about imaginary numbers right now, and it's a fascinating topic. I also liked SNAILMAIL and SILENTFILM. PAPERCOPY was my least favorite. Perhaps it's the clue. It's not exactly correct that electronic documents made the use of "paper" before the word "copy" necessary. I'm not sure what would be better, though.

1A: "The cauldron of Democracy" (AMERICA) gets a D for all the ways in which that cauldron is currently failing. Boy, I wanted something to do with classical Greece for this answer.

Overall, I felt the fill was smoothly done. I liked the four long down answers that anchored each corner, with COWTIPPING being the best by far. I'm also a fan of UNHANDS and THATHURTS. Best clue goes to 51A: Cackle from a greedy person (ALLMINE).

I don't entirely believe in TOPRANK as a thing people say. Other unhappy fill includes ETDS (plural? really?) and CTS, which is an abbreviation that no one has ever used.

I continue to be amused by ISIT? ITIS.

- Colum


  1. I too thought of classical Greece for the democracy clue, but I guess Athens was the cradle of democracy, not its cauldron. I guess cauldron for America these days sort of makes sense in the the "boil, boil, toil, and trouble" sense.

    I was looking forward to (well, maybe not quite "looking forward to") an obscure Latin derived word for "related to snakes". Was kind of relieved that it was SCALY (a perfectly respectable answer).

    SOCKS was fun (my pun detector was set off fairly quickly on this clue but it took a while to think of how it might work and that the crosses excluded ShoeS).

    This did play easy for me too, and I too didn't get too excited by the fill. But I thought the theme was fun, including the way that there was always a number partway through the theme answer to use in the clue.

  2. 22:08
    Yes, the time to solve should have been double, in my book. Funny that AMERICA, BRITISHENGLISH and EPICBATTLE (which crosses the former two) are all up there in the NW. It's also funny that BLACKLICORICE is right above ICKY, which both cross GASTRIC (I don't think that it's ICKY, but some do). I definitely agree that REALNUMBER is the best theme answer, for obvious reasons. I also agree that this was a Monday-ish Sunday offering.

  3. This might have been the easiest Sunday I've ever done. I finished in 16:49, and that includes hunting around for a minute or two for the error "tDS" was entered hastily for "Gridiron gains: Abbr." (YDS) and I didn't check "MAtOR" (34D: Onetime title for Bernie Sanders). Oh well...

    I liked SNAILMAIL and BLACKLICORICE (though I do not like it), and FLATHEADSCREW, and, well... I guess I liked the theme a lot. You point out some weak fill, but overall, I give this one a thumbs up, even with the simplicity.