Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tuesday, May 16, 2017, Bruce Haight


A tough Tuesday: I'm not exactly sure why. There were large sections of open space, and the theme did not exactly lend itself to quick filling in.

Speaking of which, what exactly is the theme? Take 5 state names, add one letter, anagram them into a phrase of no connection to the original state name. It's interesting, but it's not exactly entertaining. Of the resulting phrases, BANKRATES is really a letdown in its banality. The others are fine, with AFRICANLION being the best.

As to the fill, the corners are well done. All 16 down answers of 7 or 6 letter length are strong, with the possible exception of ARALSEA, which has been done to death (or drained of meaning?) in the puzzle. At least its the complete name, not just ____ sea, as we see all too frequently.

We have to put up with a bit of SSN and IDS, but I liked KIDLIT and LADYDI. 15A: Futures analyst? (ORACLE) is a nice little clue. POSTSUP is timely with the NBA in the playoffs, and the Celtics landing the number one pick in the draft. I don't think there's any chance of them making the Finals, but they're already a pretty good team.
A different NICKS
Hmm. Let's see:

1A: Whole slew (RAFT)  - C+. A bit above average.
Fave: POOPOUT (11D: Get dog-tired). My dog is currently pooped out right next to me.
Least fave: IDIG (31D: "Understood, dude). This phrase is seriously tired. IMSERIOUS. Time to retire it.

I would have liked this puzzle a good deal more if there had been some connection between the anagrams and the states they came from. Maybe that's too much to ask, but there it is. I'm asking it.

- Colum


  1. 9:42
    Definitely played harder for me than most Tuesdays, but who doesn't love an anagram? Bynood, that's who!
    CAPSID was tough. And I'd like to see "USEDPOT" turned into a clue for ASHES someday...

  2. 20:09
    Definitely tough for a Tuesday. The theme? Meh. POSTSUP took all of the crosses for me, USEDPOT wasn't great and POOPOUT took awhile, too. The SE wasn't very easy, nor was the SW (DABEARS? Who knew that?). Anyway, it's OK...nothing wrong with a challenge.

  3. OMG - DA BEARS is fabulous fill ! I'm a cheesehead from Wisconsin and we hate DA BEARS but if you watched SNL in the 90s they were HUGE! Thanks for the review guys- Will Shortz and Joel Fagliano loved this puzzle, but pretty much all the reviewers were unimpressed. Ah me.....

    1. I certainly remember those sketches. Frannie and I still ask "Who's driving the bus? ... Is Ditka driving the bus?" from time to time.
      Thanks for the comment! Go Pack!