Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017, Todd Gross


I don't know about you, but I'm perfectly happy keeping my puzzle types separate. I don't particularly need a SUDOKU PUZZLE in the CENTRAL SQUARES of my crossword puzzle. But I will say that it was only because I know how to do SUDOKU puzzles that I was able to get HERAT (25D: Afghanistan's third-largest city). Say "New York's third-largest city" and you've probably stumped me. Move it to Afghanistan, and it might as well be letter salad. (See what I did there? I adapted something I learned about just days ago!)

I enjoyed the "sentence" answers IHATEYOU (65A: Cross words) and MEFIRST (66A: Like a selfish attitude), NAUTICAL (15A: Seafaring) is exciting, FANTASIA is classic, and ANTEATERS (16D: Animals whose tongues flick about 150 times a minute) was interesting, if gross. 

I was not familiar with steak DIANE, and today saw a new (to me anyway) clue for ONO (55A: Hawaiian fish with a palindromic name), so that was something. But the cluing for some things, like DFLAT (38A: Note just above C) and ITERATE (31A: Do over and over) seemed a bit DFLAT. 

1A: Thematic. Not graded.
Favorite: KEY (45A: Manual opener). Clever! I kept wanting something like "step one" or "how to..."
Least: I guess, NUM (15: ____ Lock (neighbor of Page Up), but really, that's got a decent-ish clue, and nothing was really that bad.

I do, however, have a bone to pick, as it were, with the clue for ULNA (13D: Part of the body whose name is both English and Latin). That's a little like cluing "silhouette" with "portrait style whose name is both English and French." Sure, it's in English dictionaries, but it's a loan-word. There are thousands of them. And what's more, there are several body parts that are essentially Latin words. I don't know... it just seemed a little language-nerd-pandering. Is that even a thing?

But really, I think this puzzle was fine. 

- Horace


  1. 11:01 (IBBTT)

    I agree that the clueing for ULNA was perplexing and unnecessary. However, I did enjoy the rest of it and the concept of a Sudoku with letters is something I had not thought about before and seems a bit intriguing.

    This puzzle nearly pulled off the rare Irish trifecta of ERSE, EIRE, and ERIN in a single 15x15. I actually had the latter in for 26A (Where lakes are loughs) for a bit, so I'll claim the trifecta on a technicality.

    Note, the acronym above indicates that the record should reflect that I was Interrupted By [my] Boss Three Times

    1. I love all that the new acronym implies - that you were doing the puzzle at work, that you presumably answered your boss cogently while still maintaining enough focus on the puzzle to finish in good time, and, well, that maybe your boss should give you a little more space. :) I worry, though that the first T is vague. Could be two, could be thirty... maybe IBBMT? for multiple times?

      And I've squirreled away the idea of the Irish trifecta for if and when I ever attempt to construct a puzzle.

  2. 24:28
    I've often spoken with my father that SUDOKU has nothing to do with math (as people sometimes tell me "You must like Sudoku because you like math," because people are idiots), and that it would work just as well with any array of symbols. I didn't love the extra S in PSSST. ERASURE is good, though, as is FANTASIA, the full THEEMMYS and the RASTA trivia. I was relieved at the relatively gettable crosses for an aid in spelling INOUYE; I knew the answer, but the spelling eluded me. This is a 16X15 grid.

    1. Thank you; I stand corrected. I think it's actually 16x14, but I appreciate the observation as I just kind of assumed they were always 15x15 but apparently not!

  3. 9:18
    Some good long answers, but for the most part, this puzzle fell flat for me. And why? Because of the crazy degree of subdivision in the grid. Every section was a mini-puzzle, essentially. The "sudoku" aspect did nothing for me.