Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tuesday, April 25, 2017, Gary J. Whitehead

0:08:12 (F.W.O.E.)

Six theme answers today, plus a revealer! Home-body, home guard (?), home game, homeboy, home computer, home port... you get the picture. Some are definitely better than others, but with so much theme material, I suppose that's only natural. My mistake came when I guessed that the smallest NATO member might be Ireland (it's ICELAND), so I ended up with some "home ire." Heh.

Some of the fill, too, was better than other. Take MENT (14A: Suffix with refresh or replace), or HELOT (16A: Spartan serf), for example. That first is pretty weak, and the second is some deep Greek! And for what? MENT crosses REORG and ANDIE, which both cross EGESTS, and while I applaud the courage to reference "Dawson's Creek," I think that all that just to get "homebody" and "home guard" (whatever that is) might not be worth it.

I liked NUZZLES (26D: Shows some affection), but that crosses SEZ, ZZZ, and LII. And elsewhere we find ONER (47A: Long, single take, in filmmaking)? COS (60A: Stock listings: Abbr.). IMAGO (53D: Insect stage)? and ZIA (41D: 1980s Pakistani president)? Sheesh! I usually don't like to be overly negative about a puzzle, but that's a lot of ... let's say, unusual entries.

1A: Country invaded in 2003 (IRAQ) - C+, elevated slightly because it uses the word "invaded," which paints us as the aggressor nation that we often are.
Favorite: PRIORY (29D: Religious abode). Good word.
Least: PAH (65D: Part of a tuba's sound). Oom.

I found this one rough. I've heard that some find this kind of theme to be pretty much played out, so I guess the thinking is that if you have a ton of theme, that will make it more worthwhile. I'm not sure that works out in the end.

- Horace


  1. 9:44
    I agree that I don't have too many good things to say about this one. I was impressed when I realized that HOME works before *both* parts of the theme answers. I was thinking originally that it was only the latter part of the word. But too many rough spots were needed to make it work. I actually circled four different clues to go back and double-check, which is too many for a Tuesday. (IMAGO, HELOT, EGESTS, PRIORY). On the plus side, at least I learned a little something today.

  2. 4:56 (FWTE) - I put in DEGel instead of DEGUM. Which did make my revealer HOlE, which seemed odd. Anyway. Who cares? This puzzle had a couple of nice bits in the middle with all of those Zs, but the majority is just not good. It's one of the rare occasions I agree with Rex Parker.

  3. 10:02
    I AGREES with Mr. Berman on two of his four (IMAGO, HELOT), neither of which I'd ever heard, and with Horace on a bunch of other stuff. This was an odd duck of a puzzle, but I liked seeing CBGBS in there, and PEZ. Did I mention that ICELAND is on the docket for 2018? Also, SIENA was in 2012 and MEX in 2003. Both IRAQ and ISR are unlikely to ever be, but IBIZA is another story. TRIG may be my favorite type of mathy pastime, though I enjoy the calculus the most.

  4. IMAGO was easyish for me (once I'd ruled out PUPAE and LARVA although I guess the former wouldn't work for being plural), and I guess I'll cite the temporal proximity of the Science March as my excuse for putting in a word for some science answers to balance out the movies and musicians.

    I did like the Z cluster. That was a whole lot more enjoyable for me than all those homes. Other answers I liked, well OVEN and especially PRIORY. And my opinion of MENT was much more positive than Horace.