Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wednesday, May 31, 2017, Jacob Stulberg


Each puzzle this week has played hard for its respective day. I hope it continues through the turn! Of course, that won't be my responsibility, as either Horace or Frannie will take up the reviewing reins tomorrow.

I can't say why this took as long as it did. I had a hard start, but once I got into the NE corner and got SIAM, THINE, and HEIGL, I figured out 9D: What might tempt the answers to the six starred clues? (IIIIIIIIIIIIIIJ). I just really really really wanted to type that out. And how silly it looks as an across answer. I was busy filling in Is when I hit the bottom and said to myself, that should really be a J as the hook, and lo and behold, 70A was in fact JOY, which is what I felt on looking at that answer.

3D: Warning for easily provoked types ... or for the answers to the six starred clues? (DONTTAKETHEBAIT) sets us up for the six fish scattered down the center of the puzzle, each clued as an alternative meaning. My favorite was, of course, 44A: *The Mikado in "The Mikado," e.g. (BASS). I didn't recognize the starring initially, and thought the answer might be "role". It wasn't going to be "star", in any case. Although I love the part, he's only in half of the second act.

An interesting result of all of those Is adjacent to each other on the eastern half of the puzzle is how many of the crossing answers have to have two consecutive vowels - seven of the fourteen, in actuality. That's a consequence of how English works, for you linguists out there.

In reviewing the clues and answers, I'm now sort of astonished that I immediately entered FIVE at 1D: Solid orange ball. My mind instantly went to pool rather than to any other possibilities (basketball? the sun?). Was that the same for others?

In other areas, I'm not so fond of 4D: Cardiologist's concern (CLOT), which seems to imply a special connection between heart specialists and blood clots. Whereas in reality, that's my major concern on a daily basis in managing stroke patients. Maybe I'm being touchy.

1A: Ice Bucket Challenge, in 2014 (FAD). D. It's true that it became a fad, but it was an important movement that drew attention to funding for ALS. Couldn't they have been even more contemporary and talk about the ubiquitous fidget spinners now?
Fave: DISCI (29A: Things hurled at the Olympics) - the plural -I is a winner for me.
Least fave: BYPATH (43D: Indirect route). Yes it is. And nobody says it.

- Colum


  1. 12:03
    I did not think of pool at 1D, and truth be told, I didn't understand it until just now reading the review. I got it through crosses and that was that. Funny, as I played some nineball just a month or two ago.

    One that I did think of immediately was BEBOP, but I didn't believe it could be true, so I waited for some crosses. It just seems so arbitrary. Lots of things followed swing, but then again, it did come to mind right away, so maybe the clue is right on...

    I liked this one. The hook is so absurd! (Although slightly less so in its vertical formation.) And is CAVIAR a little bonus fill?

  2. 10:46
    I needed all of the crosses for 1D, as I, also, didn't think of pool right away. And I agree with Colum on FAD. How about a shout out to PARMA? And to JOY for a reason other than the hook aspect? I really enjoyed the theme, and especially the line and hook thing. Too bad that HOYLE wasn't clued with the famous astronomer Fred, though, in LIEU of the game thing.

  3. 17:31
    Figured out the theme pretty quickly, but got a bit stuck on the MOOING and GRAY section (I wanted TRAY for 36D: Ash e.g.)

    I also didn't like BYPATH.

    I'm pretty sure I've actually seen that whole hook thing done before with the IIIIIJ, in an indie puzzle.