Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017, Jeffrey Wechsler


I get the GIST of what Mr. Wechsler was going for with the "literally" part of the theme clues, but this use of the word seems a little off the mark to me - not so much that I am going to  RANTRANTRANTRANT about it, but kinda odd. However, tri as I might, I couldn't come up with a better way to describe or clue the situation.

This is also the kind of theme that gives you a lot of bang for your buck once you get it. That may seem counter indicated by my not so MSEC time on this one, but I finished the bulk of the puzzle pretty APACE. It was the north west that was my undoing. I didn't know the "Waiting for Lefty" playwright (ODETS), Eve who wrote "The Vagina Monologues," (ENSLER), or Big brand of kitchen knives. I made some pretty good guesses, but my chance at perfection was GONGONGONGONGON because I failed to notice that I had misspelled one of the CYCLEs, so I ended up with CUTlO instead of CUTCO. PUTS.

Some clues and answers I liked:
Barrel part (STAVE)
Unrenewed, as a subscription (LAPSED)
Brawl (SETTO)
Modest response to a compliment (ITRY)

Other interesting bits:
Did you notice AVER right over VERA in the middle south? Too bad he couldn't get rave in there! I'm guessing Huygens liked seeing KENKEN in the puzzle. I entered sudoku at first, which, it turns out, was not invented in Japan, although it did get its name there. As an unrelated aside, thanks to Wikipedia's disambiguation efforts, I learned that there's a form of rat-bite fever called sodoku. Did not know that. I also enjoyed SLUR, NERD, and BRACE.

Here are the clues I thought were CROCs.
Nonmeat choices at a deli counter (PASTAS) - Pasta salad, maybe, but pastas?
Cold War threat (REDCHINA) - Ooooh, that China! :|
Severe malaise (ANOMIE) - probably cromulent, but pretty far from the way I and my dictionary define this word.



  1. 22:15 (FWOE)
    My ERROR was at MINER/MSEC, where I'd entered an "n." After all, a niner must sometimes have been underground looking for gold, no? Regardless, I enjoyed the puzzle. I remember fondly the PAGERS days, but not-so-fondly the AEROSOL days. RUMP. And who doesn't love EVOLVE? PASTAS was terribly clued, I agree, and I, too, tried sudoku where KENKEN belongs. I also tried nowHERE where OUTHERE went (36A Present location, when visiting the boondocks). OLEO was nicely clued for a change; I kept wanting some form of soya down there. My favorite theme answer: RANTRANTRANTRANT ("quadrant"), because who doesn't love a graph?

  2. 17:04
    Tough Wednesday. Nice review, Frannie. I thought the theme was unusual and fun.

    The clue "Secret application, perhaps" was quite tricky, but does anyone actually use AEROSOL deodorant these days? Is that even still made?

    And I had (and much preferred) "voiced" where SONANT ended up. Hmph.

    The NW was rough, even though I liked BRACE at 1A and AREYOUIN coming down... overall, I guess I'd give it a thumb's up.

  3. 9:17
    Very tough Wednesday! I like the progression from tri- to quad- to penta-, even if that's mixing ancient languages together. I just now noticed that it's 16 x 15, which might explain the longer times a bit.

  4. The theme was the best part of this for me ("literally" is good, I think, in such a theme I wouldn't want anything which gave away too much about how it is supposed to work). As I was filling in some crosses of the GONGONGONGONGON line I was getting more and more confused.... Like GORGON? Like.... why so many G's, O's and N's? And then when I saw it I filled in the other themers (had enough crosses by then).

    Then I struggled with​ the Northwest until I just gave up and turned to Wikipedia (same ones Frannie mentions). Then I still had one square but I don't feel bad about that: MINER/MSEC is a tiny bit better than NINER/NSEC (because California gold rush was largely at surface gravel beds rather than in underground mines), but not by so much that I feel dumb about NINER/NSEC.

    Soo, fairly enjoyable, pretty tough, maybe a little rough here and there, but enough clever/novel things here for it to get decent marks.