Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wednesday, May 3, 2017, Alan Arbesfeld


I'm just going to come out and say up front that I am no fan of the quip/quote crossword puzzle. For one thing, you can't use crosswording with the long answers that make up the quip. I love the logic that plays into crossword puzzles, the recognition of letter patterns, the fact that every letter must work in two answers. When you have long phrases that are so unpredictable, there's no cross referencing possible.

So that being said, this one worked pretty well. Primarily because I was able to ignore the long answers entirely until the very end of the puzzle. I worked almost entirely using the down answers and a number of the non-themed across answers.

How's the quip? Hmm. WHENADENTIST / ANDMANICURIST / ARGUE / THEYMUSTFIGHT / TOOTHANDNAIL. It's cute, but why is there that "must" in there? I bet the original quip is: "When a dentist and [a] manicurist argue, they ... fight tooth and nail." But that doesn't split neatly into the required symmetric pieces. And that's the other downside of a quip puzzle: the torturing of the quip to make it follow crossword rules.

With five theme answers, there's a lot of glue. The two long down answers, POLEVAULTER and TICKETTAKER are less than scintillating (because of those -ER endings, in my book). I liked the clue for the former though - 3D: One with a high bar to reach. That's cute.
And here's another -ER ending!!!!
SIOUXCITY is pretty nice stuff. I'd forgotten that Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren were twins (and Russian Jewish!), so it's perhaps less shocking that they came from the same town... At the same time, that X ensures my least favorite answer in the puzzle.

The middle of the puzzle, around ARGUE leads to ASU RLS IOU and CUE. We also get NNE (I'm less deadset against these directions than I once was) and SPH(?!).

So on the whole, I think I come down on the negative side on this puzzle.

1A: Virgo/Libra mo. (SEPT) - D. Yuck. Hate starting with an abbreviation. Also, what's with all the months? ENERO and AOUT also present.
Fave: NONE (52D: Poor dog's portion, in rhyme) - for the clue. And how exactly does that rhyme with "bone" again?
Least fave: XSOUT (19D: Crosses off).

- Colum


  1. 13:42

    As usual with quote puzzles, I get to be the contrarian and say I like them. Once you get some crosses, words start falling into place. Then those words suggest other words. Then you start to get a feel for the phrase as a whole. And you are rarely stuck on knowledge you don't possess.

    Today, I had AgreE for ARGUE and bONE for NONE which delayed the above process, but I corrected those and filled in manicurist around the same time (towards the end of the solve) and it all fit.

    Fill wasn't too bad but I haven't quite made peace yet with ERIQ La Salle. Just for existing. Took me a long time to accept that might be correct.

    1. Hi Jim, I agree on two fronts. 1. I think a quip or quote puzzle is OK. As you say, words suggest other words and figuring out which words make a funny phrase is like another kind of puzzle. 2. I have also not yet quite made peace with the existence of ERIQ La Salle.

  2. 6:49
    OK, I'm splitting my allegiance here. I'm with Frannie and Jim on ERIQ, but with Colum on the ol' quote puzzles. In a way, they remind me of doing cryptograms, where I figure out as many letters as I can, and then use brute force guessing to plow through to the final answer. It's probably not a winning strategy in the long run, and in a way, it backs up the argument of the quote being another kind of puzzle...hmm.... what am I doing here?...

  3. Oh, and I forgot to say that "klomp" means "wooden shoe" in Dutch! Interesting, no?

    And YATSEN means slipper.


  4. Just sayin - if I wanted to do a cryptogram, I'd do a cryptogram.

  5. 8:05
    I'm with Colum - the long quote puzzles are inevitably long slogs for me. Fortunately the down clues were Monday-level this time, or else I might still be working on it.

  6. 15:19
    Quip puzzles seem fine to me, although there is quite a bit of glue in this one. I needed all of the crosses for AOUT, and I never heard of ESSIE Davis or ERIQ La Salle. I didn't LUV that ORSO crosses ONME, but at least the latter crosses FLAMBE.