Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thursday, April 20, 2017, Jeffery Wechsler


I think many of us think of Thursday as kind of a wildcard, and usually expect the puzzle to contain a trick of some kind, but Will Shortz has gone on record as saying that all a Thursday puzzle should be is harder than Wednesday and easier than Friday. And this, for me, was harder than yesterday's, so so far, so good on that score.

The theme is one of those wacky re-reading types, here requiring that you change the accent on an E. Instead of RUNFORTHEROSES, read it as "run for the ros├ęs," and then the clue "48A: Quick trip to pick up white zinfandel and blush?" makes sense. Sort of. I tend to like these silly themes, so this was fine with me.

Less fine with me are obscurities like TOPE, which I only learned through crossword-doing. Hey, you know what? I looked it up just now, and it comes from the french verb toper, which means "to accept the stakes in gambling." And my Webster's thinks that the meaning given here probably comes from the custom of drinking to the conclusion of a wager. Well... that makes it a little more interesting. They also give as second and third definitions, "a Buddhist shrine in the form of a dome with a cupola," and "a small gray, European requiem shark." So be on the lookout for those clues on a Saturday!

I like INVECTIVE (12D: Words meant to hurt), and ABRADE (10D: Wear down), but some of the other long Downs are a little bland - SUMTOTAL, LANDAT, WHITERICE, and TOOKACLASS, for example. Not that there's anything wrong with them, they just aren't very exciting. White rice, at least, was given an amusing clue - "One side of China?"

1A: Departed (AWAY) - C. I tried "deAd" here first.
Favorite: GIRD (55A: Strengthen). Nice word.
Least: There's nothing in here that I really hate.

Do you think TOKE (57A: It's a drag) was a subtle nod to today's date?
And isn't "62A: Function for a buffalo hide" a very odd clue for TEPEE?

- Horace


  1. 23:29
    Struggled quite a bit for the second day in a row - LOST with nothing SOLID save SAVE. I really liked the theme, although I also expected a bit more trickery for a Thursday. For example, I briefly wanted the lower right to be LISTING and SEXTING.
    I would love if you were right about TOKE being a nod to the date. I'm guessing this would be more likely if Mr. Shortz was not aware of it. Incidentally, I originally wrote in PUFF for this.
    Also, despite being a golfer I somehow never figured out TEE (13D: One of a group of 18) and needed all of the crosses.

    1. Yeah - re: TOKE, I would definitely credit Mr. Fagliano if it were at all true.

  2. 8:29 (FWOE) - put in SOLe for SOLO. Understandable mistake. It's a cute theme, with the best answer being FORHEAVENSSAKE in my opinion. I liked WHITERICE and THENATURAL side by side. Do you think that ROUES is a problem in that it is an accented word? That sort of thing seems to bother some people, but not me so much.

  3. 38:30
    ROUES doesn't bother me too much, and I agree that FORHEAVENSSAKE is the best of the theme answers. BONE could be part of the "date" theme along with TOKE, and it's funny that PIN/ATALE are one over the other in the west. RADII are always welcome. And yes, Horace, very, very strange clue for TEPEE.