Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017, Matthew Sewell

0:07:06 (F.W.O.E.)

The sport of basketball is featured today, and the actions of one of its "dynamic" plays are represented with "block," "rebound," "pass," "dribble," and "shoot." That's how a FASTBREAK usually goes, and I find the sequence to be adequately evocative, so thumbs up there.

There sure is a lot of theme material (62 squares!), and several down entries pass through three (!) theme answers. Three of those four are fine, good even, in the cases of ANECDOTAL (10D: Not based on fact or research) and SIDEORDER (31D: Fries or slaw, usually), but SURETE (21D: ____ du Québec), on the other hand, is very obscure. Its cross SECADA (21A: Jon with the 1992 hit "Just another day") is even more difficult (to me anyway), and I argue that neither is crossword-worthy. OK, maybe on a Saturday, but not Wednesday. I stared at that square for quite a while, and even when running the alphabet it took me more than a moment to prounounce "sûreté" properly. Very, very tough.

Is it all worth it? Maybe. The theme answers are ok. Many platform sandals have a wedge heel, but some have a BLOCKHEEL, and SHOOTEMUPS put me in mind more of Halo and Grand Theft Auto than the much more innocent Space Invaders and Asteroids, but, well... Oh, ok, I'll say it. The cluing was not entirely to my liking! Whew.

There are, however, good non-theme entries, like PALOOKAS, CABARETS, HADAGO (11D: Tried one's luck), ITSON (14A: "Game time!"), and UTURN (54A: One-eighty). For once it's not "uey."

UPC (1A: Scanned bars, for short) gets a C-. I don't know why it's not a D, but it's not. Overall, the puzzle's not bad, but that one square kind of soured me on it.

- Horace

p.s. And speaking of that, is "soured me on it" or "soured it for me" better? The latter seems to make more sense, but the former came to my mind first. Grammar nerds, ITSON!


  1. 6:14
    Definitely "soured me on it". I don't think there's even a question.

    I liked the theme a lot! Very clever to have the sequence in order from top to bottom. REBOUNDGUY is a little ad hoc. It's a "rebound boyfriend" but that wouldn't fit. I love DRIBBLEGLASS though.

    I actually enjoyed most of the fill. CHAVEZ next to MORALE seems appropriate. SEDER crossing RISEN also made me smile, as The Last Supper was a seder, and you know what happened not long after. And then there was the Kama SUTRA and SEX not too far apart. Fun stuff.

  2. 9:22
    SECADA is known well enough to a good portion of the population; he was pretty popular back in the day (early 90s?). The cross SURETE is not known to me, though. I'm surprised that Horace had a difficult time with it with his proclivity for French. I agree with Colum on REBOUNDGUY; I needed a cross for the last three letters. PALOOKAS is probably my favorite of the bunch, even with SUTRA and SEX in the puzzle. I didn't love the EXPO/XKE cross, and I thought this went a bit fast for a Wednesday, but I'd come down on the side of a thumbs-up, though tepid (sports theme...meh).