Thursday, February 9, 2017

Thursday, February 9, 2017, Ross Trudeau

8:00 (FWOE)

Everybody who knows me, knows how much of an Anglophile I am. Gilbert & Sullivan, Monty Python, The Beatles. I mean, who wouldn't be? I'm even reading an immense 3-volume biography of Winston Churchill called "The Last Lion" (it's wonderfully written, by the way - if you like that sort of thing, I highly recommend it). I was inspired to do so after watching The Crown. You get the point.

So I love the concept here: Right down the middle of the puzzle, 15D: "Pond" - it's the ATLANTICOCEAN, dividing British English from American English. And we get four pairs of examples of how these two dialects differ, each neatly keeping to its own side of the "Pond". I've always loved KNACKERED: it's definitely the best example here.

But here's the issue: shouldn't the British English be on the eastern half of the puzzle and the American English be on the Western half? They're each on the wrong side of the ocean! It seems like a kind of fatal flaw to the whole undertaking. And I can't really think why it's set up this way. So that's a downer (kind of like all the theme answers! Get it?).
We are all Patriots
It's a fair amount of theme material (67 squares!), which probably dictated the choppy nature of the grid. The solve was therefore quite choppy as well, especially as the pairs of theme answers were cross-referenced, meaning you had to solve one by the crosses to figure out what the word was (although with some knowledge of the language differences, the other half of the pair became easily entered). And then the NE and SW corners are very isolated.

I liked the scattered bonus theme answers, including BREXIT, BOAR, NOBEL (clue is on my biography subject), MATHS, DECO, and even ESE (71: Oxford-to-London dir.). I suppose ETRAIN, EAST (from the East Village), and RUDEST are conversely thematic as well.

My mistake came with BOBO. I thought BOzO was a better answer. zOAR turned out not to be some archaic type of meat. Who knew?

1A: Bit of resistance (OHM) gets a B- for making the best of a bad 3-letter start. I also liked 33A: It has a top and a bottom with nothing in between (BIKINI). Hah!

- Colum


  1. 10:11

    Agreed about the East/West problem. Frannie has been carping about it all day!

    Love the Wilde quote - "The only serious thing in the world" (ART), and I'm happy to learn the word ALITERATE (Able but unwilling to read). I'm going to have to start using that. :) And I enjoyed the misdirection (for regular solvers, anyway) on "Stadium cry" (RAH).

    Many good entries, but yeah, the left-right thing is troubling.

  2. 13:05
    The left-right thing didn't bother me too much. I DIVINED the theme pretty early on (with QUEUEING/LININGUP), but liked MATHS the best, obviously, even though it wasn't part of the pairing theme. I agree with Colum that KNACKERED is the best of the paired answers. Nice clue for ELOPE (57D Avoid having an arranged marriage, maybe), if a bit wordy.