Thursday, May 4, 2017

Thursday, May 4, 2017, Loren Muse Smith and Tracy Gray

8:23 (FWOE)

Always expect the funny twist on a Thursday, right? When I could think of nothing to fit into 21A: "Miss Manners," for one, I knew something was up.

In fact, I got the revealer very quickly. It helped to know VAN Cliburn, the first American pianist to win the prestigious Tchaikovsky competition in Russia in 1958, at the height of the Cold War. That led to NARY and ABLE, at which point I put BLizzard in at 44A: Winter driving hazard ... or a literal hint to four squares in this puzzle (BLACKICE). Well, I figured that out, and off we went.

Despite my recognition that something was up, I didn't actually look back at the NW corner. The first rebus square I found was at 66A: 11/11 (ARMIST[ICE]DAY). It's not actually a requirement nowadays that any standalone section of white squares be clued separately. We've seen a number of puzzles where the second portion of an answer is clued by "-". In this case, however, it's fun that each answer following one of the rebus black squares is clued independently.

The other three black squares are symmetrically placed. ADV[ICE]COLUMN and POL[ICE]VAN are well done. I also liked SERV[ICE]DOG and NOD[ICE]. The last set is a little more problematic, if we're being nitpicky (and really, what else is the point of these reviews, I ask you?). I don't really like [ICE]AGE, because the rebus square is not encompassed in a larger word and simply reiterates the meaning of the revealer. Second, 64D: Time's partner, informally (TEMP) is a big huh? for me. Is "time and temperature" a widely used phrase? I thought of "time will tell", "time and date", and "time and space" first. Certainly nobody would ever say "time and temp", right?


In other news, I enjoyed many of the bonus answers here. LILABNER is nice to see in his complete name form. I also like CATARACT, MONGOOSE, and ODORLESS, which will always remind me of The Princess Bride ("What you do not smell is iocaine powder..."). YSHAPE is also great looking in the grid.

Not as big a fan of BARCARTS. I think we call them drink carts nowadays.

1A: Harsh cries (YAWPS) - A-. Walt Whitman. Nice. "I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world."
Fave: ENNIO (69A: Film composer Morricone). Amazing scores for The Mission and Cinema Paradiso, certain famous spaghetti westerns, along with scores of others (see what I did there?). Also, this answer enabled a foothold into the SW isolated corner.
Least fave: OSOLE (17A: "____ Mio"). This old chestnut partial.

My error was a typo. I put an M at the crossing of JOAN and NEGEV by accident.

- Colum


  1. 12:53
    Frannie and I were just saying that we liked how the second half of the rebus-containing answers had their own clues instead of those "-"s. That was a nice touch.

    I had a little trouble when I put "CAscades" in where CATARACT (waterfall) belonged. Funny that they both fit. And yes, I think "Cascades," plural, could work for the singular clue. Is that wrong?

    Last - I used to call "time & temp" on the phone when I was younger. There was a special number for it. It did not sound odd to me, though I see your point about it maybe not even existing anymore.

  2. 15:01
    I'm not familiar with CATARACT as a term for waterfall. And YAWPS was more of a C+ for me, just a bit of obscurity without the usual aha moment I prefer for my 1-across.

    I agree that it was fun overall, and the clueing of the rebus squares was nicely done.

  3. 17:52 (FWOE)
    Disappointingly at the YAWPS/YSHAPE, where I'd entered the down as vSHAPE and never looked back at the 1A clue, where I'd have immediately thought of the Whitman line quoted by Colum, especially after getting the crosses. I, for one, support the A-, but would probably have gone with a straight A. Although I enjoyed the puzzle, I didn't love that OREO, ALTOID and SNO-Caps were all so close to each other. I don't have much about which to be PEEVED or to MOAN over, though. ARARAT always reminds me of the "Hitchhiker" trilogy.