Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wednesday, February 8, 2017, Ned White


What do you know, it's Wednesday and we get an odd duck of a puzzle! Five "common" phrases where the letters TER are omitted from the end, and the resulting phrase is clued wackily.

So... I'm going to give nods of acknowledgement to the original phrases "Gimme shelter" and "straight shooter". These are well established. I guess "portrait painter" is fine, although it's somewhat ad hoc, as is "train spotter". The last I know better from "trainspotting", but I suppose to do that activity, you become the phrase in question.

I'd never heard of a "prairie oyster", but it Googles well. Let me just say for the record that I have no interest in trying one. Raw egg, worcestershire sauce, tomato juice, vinegar, hot sauce, salt and pepper. I'd be fine with that scrambled and cooked with butter and maybe a finely diced shallot, but not as a drink.

But I absolutely love the result of the puzzle's manipulation. 16A: Great Plains plaints? (PRAIRIEOYS) brings up the image of Lubavitchers on a covered wagon trekking to the west coast, kvetching all the way. Excellent. The other four are not nearly so interesting. PORTRAITPAIN's clue is directly related to the original phrase. TRAINSPOT is kind of boring. The reveal is good though. LETTERDROP, or "Let 'ter' drop!" Until I saw that the clue told you to split it into three words, I was trying to figure out which letter was dropped.
OSAKA never looked so real
Not too much to comment on in the fill. I had ABYSs for ABYSM. The latter is more familiar from "abysmal", but is clearly acceptable. I liked CHIMERA and the clue for META. I wanted LattE for LECHE, but the clue's "café" is clearly more Spanish than Italian (caffè). I also wanted AGORAe for AGORAS.

1A: Bottom topper? (TALC) gets a B+ for the funny clue.

- Colum


  1. 12:56
    Good theme and interesting puzzle overall. I thought that 1A was excellent. Nice pairing of EURO/DEBT down in the SE, where Sue and I will be heading Friday morning (but we won't be going into debt and won't be able to spend Euros). Nothing too difficult here. Like Colum, I wanted LattE instead of LECHE, but the crosses, even ERNESTO, were all fair. I'd rather have had OMNI clued with the magazine instead of the car, but I really don't have a complaint, except maybe for PREXY, a term with which I'm unfamiliar, even though I attended several colleges and a university.

  2. 13:35

    This played especially hard for me, and I actually had to spend some time with the theme to help with a few areas. I've heard of "prairie oysters," but never as a drink. Ahem. But I'm with Huygens on never having heard PREXY before. And I work at a university! Never in my life have I ever heard anyone say that. Nor have I seen it written. Sheesh!

    Also, things may have changed since the 1980's, but I only know of a "Eurail pass," not just a "euro pass." What is that? Hmm... I see that it's "an initiative which aims to help you make your skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in Europe..." Maybe I'll want to look into that a little more carefully!

    Favorite clue/answer: City destroyed by Godzilla (OSAKA). Love the photo!

  3. Yes, I'm with Horace: Colum, perhaps you might Google the synonymic "Rocky Mountain Oyster" to learn what I believe to be the more common usage.

    I've also never heard "Prexy," although the Archivist says it's OK.

    BTW, I've never really thought about this before, but when you use "Google" as a verb, should it be capitalized?

  4. Oh. GIMMESHEL(TER) is a song. Well, and a movie. Yeah, I'm never going to be at the top of this crossword game with stuff like that running around (crossed with ABYSs, that is).

    But fun enough theme, decent fill (although difficult in spots). Not bad.