Thursday, August 3, 2017

Thursday, August 3, 2017, Timothy Polin

9:00 (FWOE)

I get these typos because my eyes have moved on to other areas of the puzzle. I know it's OMERTA, not OMERTe, but there you go.

This is an amazing theme. I mean, just wow. Three phrases which contain in them a kind of belt, but which also have a terminal string of letters that make up their own word, and they each are 14 letters long. Then, to put the revealer into play, the answers loop around the back of the grid to finish on the other side, while also being split along the belt types? A true BELTLOOP? That's crazy stuff.

STOCKSCOL[L/AP]SE is the least standard of the three, but still it's completely acceptable. Meanwhile WOOLLYM[AM/MO]THS and PIMIEN[TOO/L]IVES are perfect as is. Hats off to Mr. Polin.

You all know what my complaint about this puzzle is: it's the hypersegmented corners. All four are nearly completely cut off from the rest of the puzzle. Still, the fill is so much fun, I don't really care. Look at those stacks: CRUCIBLE over CLEANAIR. YESSIREE. And ITSASECRET and HEDONISTIC? Great stuff.

There's also a ton of misleading cluing going on here. 60D: Works in a salon (ART). 43D: One living in the sticks, e.g. (NESTER - although I don't buy the answer, the clue is fun). How about 27D: One working for the lord (LIEGE) - note that lower case l in "lord". Dead giveaway, isn't it?

I could go on: I love the clue on OBAMA. 10D: Like records that are easily broken? (VINYL). Outstanding stuff.

1A: Tough-to-remove stain (STIGMA) - A+. Great clue, great word.
Fave: SKIM (1D: Less than 1%, say). I had no idea where this was going until I got KABOOM in place.
Least fave: TEDS (Spreads, as straw). Yeah. Huh?

- Colum


  1. 12:44
    I absolutely loved this one, and I'm glad you did too. And you might be happy/amused to know that as soon as I saw that single-square entry to the upper and lower... hey, wait a minute, this is top-down symmetry! And are those central black squares supposed to look like a belt!?! This puzzle might have just entered my puzzle Pantheon.

    Anyway, you know what I was going to say. You already said it! ITS[not]ASECRET!

    Loved it. Every last BON bit.

  2. 12:10
    I enjoyed this one also, although I admit it took me a while to figure out the theme, even after getting the BELTLOOP revealer (61A).

    The spelling of WOOLLY was part of my problem. And not knowing SKYY or ROEG, PIMENTO, or ASKNO. I guess this whole thing skewed too old for me.

    Also, I assumed a dog could not possibly be named BHO, so had to get almost all the crosses to get OBAMA (11D: President whose initials are also his dog's name)

  3. 20:34
    The spelling of WOOLLYMAM/MOTHS held me up for a bit, too. MCCOY didn't need such a long clue; "Bones" would have been sufficient. Decent puzzle, but I still prefer a proper rebus on a Thursday. How long has it been now? I agree with Colum on TEDS. I liked seeing the full WYATTEARP.

  4. I too was wondering about BHO, but I think they mean BO (without the middle name). I had CLEArAIR before CLEANAIR and othe hiccups like that, but agree with everyone else, super impressive and great fun (not every day you get both a good theme and good fill).

    Even the questionable entries do check out: Oxford says TED comes from 'Old Norse tethja ‘spread manure’ (past tense tadda). . . .' and NESTER, while slightly jarring, does appear in dictionaries and the phrase "empty nester".

    Two thumbs up.