Monday, May 15, 2017

Monday, May 15, 2015, Peter Gordon


Before we get much farther, I'd like to address the elephant in the room. I don't think of any Monty Python sketches as being FARCES. Most of the time nowadays we think of farce as being slapstick, which MP certainly did little of. But even in the classic sense of a light comedy centered around situations rather than around character development, this definition falls short. MP utilized absurdity and surrealism far more than situational humor. Fawlty Towers is much closer to a farce in that sense.

All right, I'll get off my pedestal, because I liked the puzzle overall. Once again on a Monday, I don't have much time to consider what the theme might be, but I had an insight as I worked my way down and had the following at 48A: ____TYKE_____. Just luck, but I knew there had to be a reason that was there.

The revealer is great: 58A: Part of a person's psyche ... or a hidden part of 18-, 23-, 39- or 48-Across? (INNERCHILD). This is exactly right. The four hidden children are a minor, a teen, an infant, and the aforementioned tyke. You could quibble that a teen is not exactly a child, but then you maybe don't have teens in your house. They're still children, believe me.

The four theme answers range from great (QWERTYKEYBOARDS, although that plural..., and CAPTAINFANTASTIC, which I highly recommend as an interesting if very odd movie) to the less interesting (PRIVATEENTRANCE and CAMINOREAL). But they're all solid, so the theme works well.

There's some strong fill here as well: SEXTANT is very nice (when I had SEX____, I thought it was going to be "sex tape". There's my mind, in the gutter again). I like me a good Star Trek reference, so STARSHIP was welcome. I myself like a raisin dessert from time to time, although I basically never buy a RAISINET.

There's another re- answer here, but RESENDS is at least reasonable.

1A: Fruit often seen in still lifes (PEAR) - C+.
Fave: AHME (54A: Sigher's words) - those words in the opening song of my favorite G&S, Yeomen.
Least fave: 26D: "High" times (NOONS). No. I don't understand a plural of a specific time.

- Colum


  1. 4:47
    This one had a bit of personal drama, as I realized that it was 11:40pm and I only had 20 minutes to prevent my 264 day streak from coming to ending with a whimper. Normally I leave the Monday and Tuesday puzzles for my son to do, but apparently today [if you have kids I'm sure you can finish this sentence]
    As usual, I'm not sure where I lost 52 seconds on our leader, but at least some of it was probably my not knowing how to spell Camino Real, and trying PRIVATEENTRYWAY probably didn't help much either.
    The other thing that felt really weird was the word RAISINET. I was wondering if this was just me, so I just Googled raisinet and on the first page of results I see 42 "raisinets" but no "raisinet". So now I feel at least a little better.

  2. 5:39
    I'm back, having had my brother visiting from Florida for the weekend. My favorite is SEXTANT, and I'm always happy to see it in a grid, and I like the AZTEC/AMAZE cross. The theme is a good one, especially for a Monday, and BENES is always welcome (although the clue was needlessly long).

  3. 4:14
    Pretty nice theme today!

    As for FARCE, I like to consult my trusty Webster's in such situations, and after "1. [Now Rare] Stuffing, as for a fowl" (If it's now rare, why put it first?!) we have "2. an exaggerated comedy based on broadly humorous, highly unlikely situations," and that last part, especially, brings to mind such concepts as a cheese shop devoid of cheese, a Ministry of Silly Walks, and a pet shop owner that offers to convert a dog into a fish ("Legs off, fins on, stick a little pipe through the back of its neck so it can breathe, bit of gold paint, make good...").

    1. I stand by my analysis. Fawlty Towers is a farce. Monty Python is absurdism.