Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday, July 26, 2017, Brian Cox


AMC Rambler

Knock knock: WHOSTHERE?
"Esther ...": Esther who?

Ok, that's maybe the weakest one. The other five got at least a quiet smile, if not a true guffaw. My favorite might be the one that was the toughest for me to parse correctly:

Knock knock: WHOSTHERE?
"Luke ...": Luke who?

Heh. It's funny because Luke's hand was cut off in The Empire Strikes Back. ... too soon?

1A: "Common Sense" pamphleteer. B.
Favorite: Maybe WRING (35A: Squeezes moisture from).
Least: 16A. For obvious reasons. Runner up: 51D. (The former gets the nod because he will, unfortunately, probably be "in power" longer.)

This puzzle is heavy on theme, and I think the rest of the fill suffers for it. We've got some odd abbreviations - MLLES, ODSOTC - a near repetition - IMIT, INIT - and the unfamiliar expression "Play HOB with (do mischief to)." My deskside dictionary gives, in the etymology for the second definition of HOB, "an elf or goblin" which I guess would make sense with the expression. So there, I've learned something, and that's always a plus.

Another thing I learned (the hard way) is that INDIA is the "Second-most-populous nation." Did you notice that China also fit there? Hmph.

So in the end, it comes down to whether or not a good theme is enough to support the necessary gluey bits, and I think here it was just barely enough. I did get a kick out of the silly knock-knock jokes, and I've learned a thing or two, so let's give it a thumbs up.

- Horace

p.s. It's a debut! And over on, the constructor tells of one knock-knock that Will didn't allow - Hutch. Hutch who? Gesundheit. Hahahhahahaaa.... ok, that would have been the best one. I look forward to more from Mr. Cox, and I wish him luck pushing through more of his original ideas.


  1. It took me forever to get Ken ... IGETANAMEN. Truth be told, tho, I didn't snap to the theme straight away. I put in WHOSTHERE at about 6:30AM and didn't get to the rest until about 8PM. Timing! Hutch who? is a great one. I can't believe it didn't make the cut. And, Horace, what about the near repetition of IMIT and FAKIR?

  2. My favorite thrmer was MANOHANDS maybe because it took me a while to get it (with two unfamiliar crosses and one typo in a cross which took me a while to find). Either that or TOBEALONE. That's the winner for sheer punniness.

    I enjoyed some of the clues, like IRON, EXIT, PAWS and KILO. Not too far from the straightforward but found fun ways to reference common words.

    Time: 13:06, fairly typical for Wednesday for me.

  3. 5:43
    Ah, yes. Luke Man O' Hands. He used to sail on a British man o' war. Once upon a time, he asked if he could get a name-n. And he did. It was Man O' Hands.

  4. 13:08
    Mr. Kingdon bested my time by a mere two seconds, but this is a typical time for me for a Wednesday, too. Decent theme and very nice debut. I was thinking of a similar parsing of MANOHANDS as Colum outlined above - very funny. Any time I see an incarnation of MOORS I'm reminded of "Othello," so that is always welcome. The clue for ITCH (52D Hankering) is refreshing, too. ROSE could have been clued more blue, though, especially in the "Titanic" context.

  5. 8:39
    I really enjoyed this one. Took me just long enough to figure out the theme that I had a nice aha moment. Also, it was just hard enough that you had to get the theme figured out to finish it. Nice work!

    I managed to avoid the INDIA/CHINA trap, since fortunately I already had IMIT filled in (31A: Not genuine Abbr.)