Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017, Randolph Ross

0:24:57 (F.W.O.E.)

A punny name theme today, with three groan-worthy theme answers:

WATTSTHEPROBLEM (17A: James is keeping me from getting a steam engine patent?)
HOWESBUSINESS (35A: Hockey, to Gordie?)
HULETTHEDOGSOUT (56A: A former leader of China gave his shar-peis some exercise?)

Yeeaahh... now I like a pun as much as the next guy, but these are not exemplars of the form, in my opinion. The last one is the funniest, I guess, but only because that song is so ridiculous.

On the other hand, I liked many of the non-theme clues and answers. The NE corner, for example, had a lot of tricky ones:

16A: Wound up (SPOOLED)
21A: Discrimination (TASTE)
29A: Half-days, for short (AMS)

The first two had me totally fooled for a long time, and I couldn't make heads or tails of the last one until I had _MS, and then it finally came to me. Not a bad clue, I guess, to salvage a thing like AMS.

I'm guessing the potentially tricky little French stack of AMI (48A: Brest friend) (cute clue!) and ECOLE could cause problems for those who are both ignorant of French, and ignorant of middling movie stars.

My problem today came at EDT. I entered EsT somewhat confidently after my first guess of "bal" was thwarted by the first theme answer. Then, I guess, when I saw EXEsOUT, I did not go back to check the tense of the clue (15A: Edited, in a way). Rookie mistake.

This played a little tough, I think, for a Thursday, partly due to esoterica like LOBAR, ISAAC Pitman, NIT (37D: Coll. hoops competition) (?), and OLEOOIL.

1A: Hitchcock film with Laurence Olivier (REBECCA) - B. Nice trivia.
Favorite: Tough today. Maybe 48D: Big heart? (ACE) or 28D: Big butte (MESA). Or both.
Least: CUTTO (6D: Screenplay directive). Do. Not. Like.

Let's call it a wash.

- Horace


  1. 14:32
    I also got hung up on EDT, and spent most of my time trying to get that NW corner. I had the exact same problem on Saturday with 57D: PDT (Rose Bowl setting). I thought settings were locations of events, not time zones. I will not make this mistake again, so I guess this is all part of the learning process. Not useful learning; just learning how to solve NYT puzzles.

  2. 9:17 (FWOE) which was a typo - I put in PUGNOSs by accident and didn't notice until I'd finished the puzzle. Had some tough time figuring out the cross of CAY and CANTOO in large part because I had ABLe for a long time - seeing "well" as an adverb was remarkably difficult. Love the cluing in this puzzle. Big heart? is my favorite, but 45D: Fly over the equator (TSETSE) is a lovely use of a hidden capital. I agree that the puns are not brilliant: perhaps a complete set with why and where would have made the theme more interesting, although probably less actually possible.

  3. 36:18 (FWOE)
    The LOBAR/BERTIE cross had me since I tried an "l" there. I never heard this term BERTIE, and BElTIE seemed reasonable to me. OK Thursday. The French stack mentioned by Horace didn't fool this non-French speaker, so I think it was OK for the general population. Great clue for YAHOOS (43D Louts). Who knew? I never heard of REBECCA. I guess I'll throw it on the queue as soon as I'm done writing this.

    1. Seeing "The King's Speech" helped me there, because Bertie was the stutterer.