Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday, April 9, 2017, Byron Walden


All the puzzles at the A.C.P.T. have titles, and those titles always give away a little about the theme. If, that is, you can decipher them properly. The same is true of Sunday NYTX puzzles, and today the title, correctly interpreted, means "some common phrases with O (nothing) and ON added to the end of them." As in, MOVIEBUFFOON (30A: Inspector Clouseau or Borat?) and WAILINGWALLOON (85A: Audibly upset Belgian francophone?). I like that second one, but oh that tortured clue!

One slight problem for me today was that I was expecting that 22A and 107A would also be theme answers, and maybe a couple more of the Down answers, but really, there were already plenty of them. What are there, nine? And MONSTERSBALLOON (28D: Something seen at Frankenstein's birthday party?) runs through six other theme answers! Impressive.

As usual, though, for that kind of bravado we also contend with a few odd plurals (VACUA, LOCI, ACTA), a few old theater types (BAVIER, ADAIR, RENE), and the usual sprinkling of foreign matter (ACHT, AEREO, OCHO, KENDO, ACLEF (!) (8D: Roman ____ (à clef)). We also get such gems as SPLEENY (33A: Peevish), BASEST (34A: Most contemptible) and ULA (74A: Suffix with blast-). And I was all set to complain about BEREA (62A: Kentucky college), but after looking it up, it's such a great school that instead of being mad about it, instead I'm glad to have learned about it.

Still, I liked being reminded of CRONUTS (7D: Hybrid bakery treats), WHIPLASH (84D: Abrupt, disconcerting reaction) is a good word, and everybody loves EGGSALAD (79D: Vegetarian sandwich filling) (pro tip - eggs are not vegetables).

1A: Ecclesiastical leader (ABBOT) - C.
Favorite: 56A: "Indubitably" (YES) - for the absurdity.
Least favorite: 80D: Train syst. (RWY). Yeah, ok.

The theme entries made me chuckle, but overall it seemed a little meh.

- Horace


  1. BEREA went straight in. No crosses. We went through there on our roundabout way to a wedding in St. Louis Park and stopped to take a picture of The Archivist's mother's first home. Her grandfather, at the time, was working for Berea College.

    I don't know what CRONUTS are, but the crosses were easy enough.

  2. I second your meh and raise it another. It is impressive that MONSTERSBALLOON crosses 8 (that's EIGHT!) theme answers. But oh. So much junk. HOBBITHOLE just isn't right. It's never called that in the books or the movies, even if the book starts out with saying Bilbo lives in a hole. That term just sounds wrong. VACUA? crossing ACTA? Oof. AEREO crossing BEREA? Double oof (regardless of what Mr. Fob says above). And I don't know a single neurologist who would say REFLEXTESTS. They're just reflexes. Or maybe deep tendon reflexes if you want to get technical.

    What is this horse-drawn car? (HORSEDRAWNCARTOON). I've heard of a carriage described that way. When I hit ULA and RWY I was about done.

    SPLEENY. Really?

    1. I take it back. Maybe it really was called a hobbit-hole in the book. But I still don't like it.

  3. 25:59
    Theme didn't do much for me but I appreciate the tip on checking the title (which I do at the ACPT but never do on the daily puzzles). Filled in all of the OON boxes which helped enough to get me over the hump. I didn't like HOBBITHOLE either.

  4. 57:16 (FWTE)
    My two errors were at the VACUA/ACTA and BEREA/AEREO crosses (mentioned above). I enjoyed the theme. Believe it or not, it helped that I figured it out early on and was able, therefore, to fill in ___OON all over the place. "Horse-drawn cart" Colum. Funniest: SAUSAGEFESTOON.

  5. My favorite was MOVIEBUFFOON because it seemed especially apt. APT! I'm surprised no one mentioned other SOSO entries including ASTR, ENL, or OTB. SUPE!