Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday, April 26, 2017, Trenton Charlson

0:08:15 (F.W.O.E.)

In the late 1980s, Ernest and Julio Gallo put out a series of commercials that seemed to be on TV all the time. My brothers and I frequently mimicked (mocked?) the people in them, and sometimes, even today, when tasting a new wine, we will exclaim "Ahh... Gallo!" even though it is not - was not and never will be - a Gallo wine. It is for this reason that I cannot believe I was stumped by 42A: Grenache, for one (VINROSE). But 35D: Degree of expertise in martial arts (DAN) was no help, so I tried something other than an N at first, before running the alphabet and kicking myself.

Other than that, though, this was a pretty good puzzle with an unusual DOSEQUIS theme. I got REDDFOXX (17A: "Sanford and Son" star of 1970s TV) right away, but didn't know NEXXUS as a "High-end shampoo brand," so it wasn't until EXXONMOBIL that I started to think about the theme.  The revealer finally gave it away, and then TJMAXX and ANTIVAXXER (38A: Shot blocker?) (Tricky!) became clear.

I like the staggered sevens and eights falling through the middle. BAGHDAD (44D: Second-largest Arabic-speaking city after Cairo) gets a good trivia clue, GONDOLAS is lovely, and ARRIVING is fine, and I'm looking forward to sitting in a BOXSEAT at Fenway on Sunday night!

A few bits of RIA, ANNO, ORU, AGGRO and MADERA (Ma-where-a?), but we've also got ELIXIR, APEXAM, NSFW, AVIARY, and POX! It's a debut puzzle, and it's a good one. Congratulations!

- Horace


  1. 7:58
    I also enjoyed this debut from young Mr. Charlson, and also took a bit of a guess on VINROSE. Thanks for reminding me of those tacky Gallo commercials! The other one I remember is Orson Welles holding a glass of Paul Masson and stating very seriously into the camera "we will sell no wine before its time".

  2. 16:33
    Well, no errors, but over twice as long as the two previous times listed on this page. Horace, I'd never have guessed you didn't know of NEXXUS judging from the normally luxurious state of your hair. ANTIVAXXER is the only one of the theme answers that I didn't know. My slowdown was mostly on the eastern seaboard, though, especially the NE. I wasn't aware of the MENTOS trivia (we used baking soda and white vinegar (with food coloring, of course), and I wanted AVIARY, but when I see a five-letter president reference, I automatically write in Obama, not NIXON, so it just took a little while for things to unfold up there. And you're right, no one's ever heard of MADERA. Now Madeira; that's somewhere I can get behind. And the Welles commercials were the best for their absurdity, although the one above is pretty great, too.

  3. 4:44
    Almost finished with an error, because I'd entered sOHO instead of NOHO. But since I didn't know MADERA at all, I left the first square of MEANT blank until the end, then saw my mistake. This puzzle is remarkably well done for all of those Xs. And you get a Q in the revealer!

    Some interesting questions surround whether the SAXONS were truly invaders of the British Isles in the fifth century. I read a fascinating book about the complete lack of any reliable historical sources and relative lack of archaeological evidence, making this period of British history truly a dark age. At the very least, the Saxons were invited to settle initially, prior to any conflicts. PS - clearly the Saxons weren't invading England, as the Angles were Saxons. They were invading Britain.

  4. 18:38 (to Huygens, could be others got this faster than you, or just that the slow ones are less likely to report their time!)

    Well, that was not an easy clue for Tricky Dicky for me. I kept thinking it must be a fictional President, but if I had been thinking of all those Xs maybe it would have gone faster. That was the last and slowest corner for me.

    Totally agreed about the volcano. Mine was baking soda and vinegar too. Then again, it didn't work very well. Should have practiced more, I now realize. At the time I suppose I would have been worrying about wasting all that baking soda and vinegar. I was a cheapskate as a kid....