Thursday, May 25, 2017

Thursday, May 25, 2017, Erik Agard


I know there are a lot of people out there who are just dying to start reviewing this puzzle. I can just see them all, champing at the bit. Fingers twitching. Planning out their humorous insights.


Okay, ILLGOFIRST. (Boy, that was a convoluted way to get into the review).

I'll start with the strange idea I had that a "dewlap" was something Scottish. I essayed that maybe the answer to 19A: Pet with a dewlap and a beret? would be FRENCHscotty. Not that such a thing exists, mind you. But it's a Thursday! Maybe we were imagining a series of answers with two nationalities in each? "American Turkey"? "Japanese China"?

But no, after some confusion, I figured out PURPLEIRAN, and got that we were looking at phrases where the second word was anagrammed. It wasn't until the revealer that I realized that in each case, the anagram put the I at the beginning of the word and left all the other letters in order. Thus: "version" becomes "iverson". That's some pretty cool stuff.

All four original phrases are strong, with "roll of coins" being the least recognized. The new versions are okay, and the humor in the cluing is not all that wacky, unfortunately. I'm most impressed with COVERIVERSON because of the surprise in the switch.
Knowing this movie helped a bunch
There's a bit too much RCA MCA MDI in the puzzle. I got weirdly confused by 9A: Letters on a bottle at the beach (SPF). I thought up Sos, which you wouldn't find on a bottle, but rather in a bottle, in a way. Think "Message in a Bottle" by The Police. But wouldn't that be a sad cry for help? Rather than giving any information of where you are, the note has only an anonymous and placeless SOS? I'm dropping a metaphorical tear for the pathos of the story I've just concocted.

GOLFRESORT I could do without. It's fine, I suppose, although I wanted GOLFcourse. And plus there's the reference to Trump. Is this the way more right-leaning NYT xword solvers felt the last 8 years? 29D: One who might get down to Alabama? (LINEDANCER) must be referring to the Southern rock band by that name.

I actually enjoyed most of the midlength answers here. DORITO was so brazen in its brand naming, I laughed aloud. 10D: Challenges for movers (PIANOS) is an unexpected way to get to that answer. I never thought of a dogie as an ORPHAN, but that's exactly what it is.

1A: Go on a little too long (DRAG) - C+.
Fave: ROUNDTWO (6D: Another go) - I had ARNO in place and was dreading a RE- answer here. So pleased with this instead.
Least fave: ASFOR (28D: Regarding). So dry.

- Colum


  1. 21:27
    I think you were a little too hard on DRAG, although it could have been pot-related, I guess. Would that have brought it up to the Bs? The theme is great and impressive. As we all know, I prefer a rebus on a Thursday, but this is a good substitute. I don't know of OMAREPPS, but the crosses were fair. ASTRO is OK, but I'd almost rather have seen that clued by the Jetson's dog. I'll say that as a former newspaper delivery boy, a roll of coins is extremely familiar to me. The usage of the word FLOG (59A Promote shamelessly), however, was not previously known to me, but learning new words and new usages of words is part of the fun of crosswording, so no complaints.

  2. 8:51
    I usually get skewered by Erik Agard puzzles, so pleased today to finish before our leader (which I rarely do). Looking forward to seeing Erik next week at my hometown tournament in DC.

    I was also a bit confused by 9A. I never really think of sunscreen as being in a bottle, more of a tube.

    Favorite: 55A: Wait in a strategic location, in video game lingo (CAMP). I'm imagining NYT subscribers playing Call of Duty Black Ops, much to my delight.

  3. 12:48
    Frannie mentioned DORITO a couple days after this puzzle ran, citing the brazenness of dropping the plural in the brand name. Funny.

    This was an impressive theme. I think FRENCHIGUANA is also quite a nice find. And I had never heard the word CAMP used in that way. I tried "lurk" at first, but that's something else entirely, I guess. Ahh.. being old. At least "roll of coins" was not the least bit obscure to me. And I remember the day that all sun tan lotion came in bottles...