Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tuesday, May 23, 2017, Zhouqin Burnikel


Things that come in PAIRS are represented by crossing two copies of the singular instance of same. Thus, we usually think of "tongs", "socks", "skis", or "pants". Here instead, [TONG] crosses [TONG].

Boy, that took a good deal of explaining. But what I liked about the theme was how the words were not used in their original sense within the longer answers. SOCKEYE was my briefest concern, but it turns out that's an Anglicization of the original word from Halkomelem, a language of an indigenous people in current British Columbia (thanks to Wikipedia for that bit of knowledge).

My favorite crossing was BREWSKI and HASKITTENS. It's much easier to do with a three-letter string, but I liked how the latter hid the word across two answer words. Also, it should be noted that in each of the other three pairs, the hidden word is placed at the outset of the answers. I suppose the circles were necessary on some level, but I think it would have worked just fine without them.

There was a surprising amount of lengthy answers in this grid, which made my time a little longer than I'd expect for a Tuesday. Not all of these answers are so great, such as COARSEN and IDOIDO. But you do get the nice IMINAWE and ALDENTE.
Travel porn, anyone?
53A: Audited, as a class (SATINON) is an odd one, isn't it? Since it's a Tuesday, we definitely needed the qualifier in the clue. Also, I keep on wanting to parse it as "satin on", as in "What the jockey had?" That would definitely be a clue for the ages.

Not such great stuff in the fill included things like NEUT, ALGA, and OHOK.

1A: Make a pass at (HITON) - C. It's fine.
Fave: IBEENHAD (10D: Informal cry from someone who is duped). You can see that they needed to adjust that clue. It should really read: ...from someone who has been duped, but that would dupe the been, if you see what I mean.
Least fave: NONPC (27A: Potentially offensive). I hate where so-called political correctness has taken us, from the strangeness of limited discourse in our universities, to the elevation of dingbats to the highest levels of political office.

Also, couldn't CORNER have been in the corner? It was so close.

- Colum

P.S. I had a sudden flash of Dirty Dancing as I was finishing writing the review, and now I see why. Nobody puts corner in the corner.


  1. 7:45

    I'm not familiar with the phrase HASKITTENS (or KAL, for that matter). This one played tough for me. Not enough sports and French, I guess. Northwest was a slog.

    I knew there was a good CORNER joke in there, and you nailed it.

  2. 15:50 (FWOE)
    Wow. I was not expecting this one, and as Mr. Berman put it, the NW was a slog. A slog and a half!

    "... dupe the been." That's my new catchphrase. Also, I don't remember seeing Vernazza in the grid, but wouldn't that be a coup.

    A lot of my time (I'd like to say half of it, but it was probably more like 2 minutes) was spent looking for my error, and now I can't remember exactly where it was. It was in PANTOMIMES, which I loved, and it was either the A I left in from OTRaS, or the N I left in from EnE. Funny how I leapt to morphene instead of morpheme. And I a linguist. Of sorts.

  3. Figuring out the theme was fun. First, that circled words cross another copy of the same word. Second, the revealer which confirms that. And then third, that they are things which come in pairs.

    Couldn't remember which electronics brands were past vs present, but got AIWA from crosses. Now Wikipedia tells me a new owner is trying to revive the Aiwa brand, just to complicate things further. Such are the trials of being a crossword constructor, editor, or solver.

  4. 11:08 (FWOE)
    OHOK/KAL. KAL? Whatever. Other than that, this was a fine grid and a nice enough theme for a Tuesday. I didn't love the DASANI/DOO cross. BREWSKI and IBEENHAD are definitely the best of the bunch. I, too, had never heard of the phrase HASKITTENS, but I like it, and will try working it into a conversation.