Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wednesday, May 10, 2017, Ned White

5:08 (FWOE)

For all of you who might be wondering, SNERT is the dog from the comic strip. SNERd is Mortimer, Edgar Bergen's ventriloquism doll. Both are from roughly the same time period... well, maybe the ventriloquism one is a good deal older, but they overlapped in the 1970s. All I'm saying is, check your crossings!

And speaking of crossings, I found this theme quite clever. There's a BADMINTONNET down the middle of the puzzle, and the BIRDIE, after one player SERVES, bounces back and forth across, each time represented by four-letter bird names, each clued in a way that doesn't reference the bird. Thus, 17A: Avoid a beanball, maybe (DUCK), or my personal favorite, 59A: Ice cream bar brand (DOVE), because yum.

And then, after it's rallied back and forth six times, on the seventh time it lands clearly beyond the line delineated by the net, and the other player calls ITSOUT! Fun stuff.

There are 60 squares dedicated to the theme. It's made slightly easier by the fact that none of the answers cross each other at all, but even so, that's a fair amount to deal with, and it leads to some of the clunkier fill, such as in the NW corner with RISD next to ACLU (I accidentally entered this initially as UCLA, which amused me), and also in the SE corner with ODED and ERSE.

But even so, there's some pretty good stuff here as well. I liked 41A: Not stressed (UNACCENTED) - that's a good misdirecting clue. IONBEAMS is fun, and I particularly liked 69A: Facetious subject of many articles in The Onion (AREAMAN). Who can complain when SPAM is clued with the Monty Python sketch?

1A (RACKET) is a theme answer, and so doesn't get a rating. That being said, it's not much fun to begin a puzzle with a cross reference answer to a theme.
Fave: the aforementioned AREAMAN.
Least fave: MATEO (36A: San ____ (Bay Area city) - for the partial and the fact that we had a California city just a few answers earlier already.

It's a Wednesday - it's kooky.

- Colum


  1. 6:22
    Yeah, this is really a cool theme, and very well done. SEALAB looks like "seal ab" to me as I review it now, and I keep trying to come up with an appropriate clue - "pinniped's sixpack part?" "a walrus crunch might strengthen one?" .... ok, no. But still... seal ab.

  2. 11:53
    Thank goodness for crosses: RISD/ICHIRO, TIMEINC/REN, BADMINTONNET/NISI. Maybe I'll remember REN and NISI in the future, but I'm not confident. Great theme, and fun game that isn't played nearly enough at the YBH, especially later-summer when the beach is a bit larger. The crossing of ___RAT/RAT is odd down in the SW.

  3. I'm still trying to figure out where LA Confidential comes into play on this one. Also, if you ever have a few minutes to spare I can never think about badminton without going back to watch this clip:

    1. Wow. That's quite a segment. Thanks.
      Seems like it had to have been scripted. Very strange, but kind of wonderful that it actually aired.

    2. Yes it must have been scripted. Apparently it ran during extended coverage at about 1:30am, so it went relatively unnoticed for quite a while until the internet discovered it years later :-)