Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday, April 30, 2017, Alan Arbesfeld


Frannie may quibble over an accident of birth, but I am a New Englander. (At the very least, I claim dual citizenship.) And specifically, I am from Massachusetts. I delight in the regional accent, but bristle when I hear it attempted in movies (it's never right), and often when I see it attempted in wordplay. This is not the Boston accent. It might, actually, be closer to the Down East accent, but I do not claim to be an expert on that. Now Frannie's relatives - they could weigh in here, if any of them had access to the internet, that is... :)

So my personal issues aside, let's talk about the non-theme material. I thought it had quite a bit of glue-y content today. NOU (7D: ____-turn), CCL, MAU (95A: Egyptian ____ (spotted cat breed), INE, INASTAC, STRTRINIK, and longer stuff like ASLOPE (31A: Inclined) (said no one, ever), APISH (28D: Imitative) (ditto), and ETALII (27A: Roster shortener) (wrote almost no one, ever, since Roman times).

1A: Part of a crossword (GRID) - C+. The plus for the meta-ness.
Favorite: Believe it or not, my favorite might be SPA, because of its novel clue: 120D: Spring for a vacation?" But I also enjoyed "59A: Worn things" (GARB)
Least: ITSMYPOTTY (119A: Toddler's cry upon entering the bathroom?). Just no.

On the bright side, we have COALESCE (10D: Come together), EPHEMERA (73A: Short-lived things), AMOROUS (53D: In the mood), and DOUSES (105A: Puts out), but I just don't like the theme. It almost requires that you say the new words in a Boston accent to even make it close - like "LOWCOBDIET, for instance. If you say it using an "aw" sound for the O of "cob," you get who knows what, but if you use "ah," you get closer to the desired effect. But then that doesn't work at all for ACALLTOOMS because nobody would say "a call to 'ah'ms" would they? Oh, I don't know... maybe I'm sitting to close to the fire.

Anyway, I'm sad to go out on a sour note, but, well, that's the way it is. Colum is back tomorrow after what seems like an eternity, and I'll see you again in a month or two. Until then, Happy Puzzling!

- Horace


  1. I'm just glad it's your blog post today and not mine. This was terrible. ACALLTOOMS should have been kicked out immediately. The mantra "om" is pronounced with a longer O, more like "ohm" than "ahm". It's a fail all around. And I agree, all of the examples are using a Maine accent rather than a Boston one, but it must be said that the title is New England Chatter, not Boston Chatter. Still, I didn't much like it. Way too much ugliness. On to tomorrow!

  2. 34:23
    My son joined in the fun and helped with today's puzzle. We did enjoy trying to suss out the groaners for each theme entry. They were bad enough that they were almost good.
    Thanks for a fun month of sharp and witty analysis.

  3. 37:32
    I wholeheartedly agree with the pans for today's puzzle. This was not fun, and not one of the theme answers made me even crack a smile. MOTE was the high point for me since it reminds me of Carl Sagan: " which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky." Well, I guess SPOCKPLUGS is OK, just because of Spock. And ULM because of the great Monty Python skit that features it. OK, I ADMIT there are a few gems AMONG the dross, but the rest gives me AGITA.