Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tuesday, December 27, 2016, Herre Schouwerwou

4:12 (FWOE - typo)

This is an old standby for themes: two word phrases, each of whose words when combined with a third common word, make new phrases. For it to work, the theme answers must each be recognizable, the new phrases must all be common parlance, and the revealer should be a clever way of explicating the trick.

The last is certainly true here: DOUBLETAKE is nicely doubly used here. The second condition is also well met: "take heart", "take shape", "take cover", "take charge", "take down", "take home", "take back", "take away", "take after", and "take effect" are all well known phrases. The first reminds me of Pirates of Penzance. Actually, at this point, the word "take" has lost all recognition to me.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure the first condition is met. HEARTSHAPE is ad hoc. DOWNHOME and BACKAWAY are acceptable if banal. But AFTEREFFECT feels not a true thing. Googling it brings up an Adobe program primarily. Anyway, others may disagree. It's pretty close to working, in any case.

I'll also pick a little nit with HALFGONE. Or perhaps more with the clue, with a reference to dementia. Perhaps this is not particularly sensitive. It certainly could have been clued with, say, a partially eaten pie, instead.

Otherwise, I give enthusiastic thumbs up to OGDENNASH and SUPERMOM. I've never heard the term SUNDOG before, and I like the learning experience.

1A: Tease good-naturedly (JOSH) gets a B-, a slight bump in grade being achieved due to the difficulty of figuring out which 4-letter J-word is being referred to. In fact, my first confident answer was JIHAD. My error came at the cross of EPEES and TOSS, where I'd typoed a Z instead of the S, but my eyes had already moved on. This is really a mistake borne of iPad. It would never have happened either with a pencil or an analog keyboard. But them's the breaks.

- Colum


  1. This is a good one. FOLIO, BEDBUG, the pair of Ceasar salad questions with the same answer in different languages and pluralizations,

    I learned something about the shades of meaning of DEMUR; I would have said it means show reluctance or even hesitate, but it can also mean to object to something, which is closer to how it is clued here.

    A similar one is ABASE which I thought was to take down more than just one notch, that is to humiliate. But the dictionaries seem to be saying that it ranges from that to something milder.

    Anyway I'll take the raised eyebrow over the tired old crosswordese any day. The fill here was fresh and shows that you don't need an especially novel theme to make a good puzzle.

  2. 5:59
    SUNDOG is a well-known term to me, of course, and I put it in right off of the clue. DANTE, OGDENNASH, FOLIO, ERICA and JIHAD also went right in. I agree that HALFGONE was clued terribly, and on the scoring for JOSH; that was a surprising 1A answer. I'm OK with AFTEREFFECT. Enjoyable Tuesday.

  3. 6:15

    Tons of theme! And I didn't have much of a quarrel with any of the themers. HEARTSHAPE is probably the weakest one for me.

    And I, for one, actually say EGAD from time to time without thinking that it's old-fasioned, but AGOG, on the other hand, I would only say if I were trying to sound old-timey.

    The clue for CEL (What framed Roger Rabbit) is cute, but ever so slightly off, don't you think? "Follower of anything and everything," (ELSE) on the other hand, I like a lot. And I also loved that AMARE got in there in the infinitive for a change! Nice.