Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wednesday, December 14, 2016, Alan Deloriea


Some months, as I write these scintillating blog entries, I look back on the months I didn't blog and wonder how come it seemed like those puzzles were so much better than the ones I'm analyzing and critiquing? I've been less than impressed with every single puzzle from last Thursday to today's.

I mean, it's fine. It's passable. The theme is a cute idea: five examples of "Something to follow." Only the very first answer is suspect: DOTTEDLINE. What are we following here? If it's on a form, that's where we sign, not something we follow. Or is it on a roadway? If so, it's a duplication of the best answer of the bunch, YELLOWBRICKROAD. Any thoughts on what was meant by this answer?

And yeah, the second answer just makes the inadequacy of the first answer so much more meaningful. Here is a good example of something to follow (GOODEXAMPLE), only, it's following a bad example, see? The other two are quite good, namely TWITTERFEED and OPENINGACT. Clear instances of things one follows.

Two fine long down answers, especially 11D: Their characters jump off the page (POPUPBOOKS). Great clue, fun answer. 30D: One who wants a ring for bling? (GOLDDIGGER) is not quite as good. I'm sure the blogosphere will be exploding with complaints that this is sexist. That doesn't bother me so much: it's an accepted term with a predominantly gendered definition.

On the other hand, the grid once again teems with names and proper nouns. 1A: Company whose business is picking up (UBER) gets a B, balancing out the brand name with the clever clue. In other spots, we get OLMEC, BENNET (sadly not clued using Pride and Prejudice, which I would have preferred, even though Senator Bennet is contemporary), EDDARD (well known to me), NICOLE, LARA, ASSAM, JUDEA.

Also, WIRER. Just should not exist. And is it okay to cross EMO with EMOJI? They have the exact same root underlying their origin, namely the word "emotion".

The worst offender though, has to be ONEB. Oof.

Here's hoping the turn brings a turn in quality as well.

- Colum


  1. 6:07 (FWOE)

    We often took the "White Dot Trail" when climbing Mount Monadnock, soooo.... we were following the dotted line on those trips. Does that help? No, I thought not. What about "bouncing ball?" The other theme answers were, as you say, quite good.

    I spelled EMOJI with a G, for unknown reasons, and didn't, for unknown reasons, balk at GUDEA. Oh well...

    Liked DEBRIEF, for obvious reasons, OLMEC reminds me of The Simpsons, and BOON reminds me of the Yeomen of the Guard. Ahh... references.

    This puzzle wasn't all that bad, but I, too, have high hopes for the Turn!

  2. As for the dotted line, I took it to mean one of those pedestrian routes painted on a sidewalk, for example in a theme park or something. Totally agree it was the weakest of the themers (the others of which were good).

    I suppose I should worry about whether GOLDDIGGER is sexist but I didn't even get that far because I'm still trying to parse the clue. I take it that the ring is a wedding ring and the bling is all the money/jewelry that a GOLDDIGGER gets after marrying a sugar daddy and I guess that means the ring was "for" the bling or.... I dunno, it just isn't falling into place for me. Is there some way of reading one of these words that I'm missing?

    Anyway, I too thought it was fine but unexciting and agree about too many names (NICOLE crossing LARA? Really?). But I did want to talk about the good parts. BATIK is a fine answer, MACROS crossing TAB was cute and EMOJI is suitably up to date without being obscure (well at least for me, can't speak for the whole country). ORATE is an old chestnut but I thought the soapbox clue was above average. JUDEA was a relief because it is fairly familiar. After reading the clue I was afraid it would be, well, pretty much any other region of ancient Palestine. I suspect there are a lot and that I know few if any from memory.

  3. 13:53 (FWOE)
    ASSAM/ADIN cross, where I entered an "o" since Odin is well-known, and neither ASSAM nor ADIN are (at least to me). Could DOTTEDLINE refer to Billy's excursions on "Family Circus?" Never heard of EDDARD. On balance, a fine Wednesday, IMO.