Sunday, January 1, 2017

Sunday, January 1, 2016, Matthew Sewell


Happy New Year, Dear Reader! Welcome to 2017, which starts, in the crossword world at least, with a laugh.

Six, two-word theme answers, each having an aisle, or aisles, and in the "aisle" between the two words, we have a "HA" rebus that works with the cross. It's all symmetrical, it runs horizontally and vertically, and, well, it's pretty well done. I'm with Colum today, and he initially liked it better than I did, but he's argued his case successfully, and I give it a thumbs up.

Continuing with our practice of rating the first clue and answer of every puzzle, I give MOOCHED (1A: Sponged) a solid B+. It stays in the Bs because I don't particularly like the word or the action, but still, it's interesting and unusual. There are other very nice bits of fill today like AVALANCHE (16D: Winter fall?), YODELED (52D: Made peak calls?), and TOUSLE (112A: Muss up). But as usual, there are also concessions to be borne as well, like CANTI (63D: "Pretty please?"), CUGAT (63A: "That Latin Beat!" bandleader) (Who? Oh, right, it was that 1957 release...), NTH, ETES, TSU, AORTAE, and a few other things.

But on balance, there's more good than bad, and we could all use a little chuckle, right?

- Horace


  1. It was wonderful having Horace and Frances around ours once again this New Year's. I did like the theme. But I'm also going to call out ARB and ARCHWAY as being very subpar answers. I loved 33A: Running figure (TALLY).

  2. I liked INSOLES, TOLEDO (which I never would have gotten without the Mud Hens references in M*A*S*H), and OKAPI. Why OKAPI? I dunno, just one of my favorite (semi) obscure beasts.

    The theme wasn't bad but I kept looking for a revealer. That's my fault, need to remember that Sunday has titles but other days don't. Without the title, I noticed that the theme involved a HA which only counts in one direction, but didn't notice aisles were involved, much less that one would roll in them. With the title, it makes more sense.

  3. 35:07 (FWOE)
    Once I got the first [HA], I just filled all of the others in, which can be the drawback of a puzzle such as this. I did enjoy it, though. As one can see, after three offerings where it took me under 25 minutes to solve, this one is up almost to my ideal time of 40-60 minutes. Solid fill and good cluing. At first I put in mAINGOD for 80A Indra, to Hindus, and never checked the cross (RIGATONI), which, as an Italian, is somewhat embarrassing. I wanted Arnaz to go where CUGAT was, but that wouldn't work for any but the fourth cross. Loved the SELLERS quote.