Monday, February 13, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017, Brent Sverdloff and Michael Blake

3:20 (FWTE)

Everybody loves a vowel progression puzzle! Here, we have H_LL working through each vowel. I'd say they hit on three of the five: HALLOFFAME, HILLSTREETBLUES, and HULLABALOO are all well known and acceptable phrases. HELLOHOWAREYOU is fine; it just seems a bit strung together to fit in the grid. I mean, would we accept "hey, dude, how's it hanging" as a phrase? Maybe I'm being nitpicky.

On the other hand, HOLLYWOODACTOR is just too blah. I wanted it to be "Hollywood star", but that didn't fit. I feel sure this could have worked just a bit more tightly with a little jiggering.

The grid has two long down answers that span three theme answers. ALLFEMALE is accurate, but doesn't feel organic. RULEOFLAW is very good.

Otherwise, the fill is reasonably good. I liked that both current ASTRO and retro OILER make it in. SIR, OFART, and the most peculiar partial I've seen in a while, ACAB, are not great. 1A: Name of five Norwegian kings (OLAV) gets a C-, because I had to guess whether it was going to be a V or an F at the end. In fact, Google likes the F better.

My errors were stupid. At 10D: Reduced, with "back" (SCALED), I put in diALED (off of ___LED). It works, but even as I completed the corner and saw dHAH at the top, I thought something's wrong there. Glancing at the clue for 10A, I misread the nationality of the leader in question as Indian, and thought, well, maybe dHAH works? I didn't check 16A, which was obviously COSA. Check your crosses! I need to start being more careful, especially if I want to go to the ACPT this year!

- Colum


  1. 4:58
    I check my crosses, in general. Partials are usually not too good, and there were a bunch of them. At least RIOJA is in there, crossing BAJA. The half-offering of MOET isn't that great. HAIKU reminds me, fondly, of the late project of Horace's. REMOW is terrible.

  2. No accounting for taste.... I dig cheesy things like REMOW. The OVULE clue seemed a bit too literal (but maybe that's just because I'm a plant enthusiast, where OVULE had a technical meaning). Kind of liked HONEY but I guess HAIKU gets some points even if the clue contained an entire poem.

  3. 3:39

    I did a lot of correcting as I went along - mostly typos - and I think that if it had gone more smoothly I might have had a chance at the twos! As it was, this is still one of my fastest times ever, if not the fastest. (I don't actually have any record of it aside from this blog, and I'm not about to go hunting around for a faster time...

    And I'm with Mr. Kingdon - no accounting. I love the fact that HAIKU's contained an entire poem!

    1. Oh, and as for my "late" project:

      I still come up with haikus
      But rarely publish