Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thursday, August 31, 2017, Zachary Spitz


Oh, this is fun. What a great way to wrap up my month of blogging. I had a sense a rebus might be on the books when I had difficulty filling in the NW corner despite recalling ALONSO of all things.

So a rebus is less fun when it's predictable. There are two ways it can be predictable: the same rebus in all places, and rebuses in symmetric squares. This puzzle is predictable in where the rebuses are, namely in the three corners, but each square has a different rebus, which is very nice.

In the end, we have four examples of a CORNER / OFFICE. In the NW, it's a [BOX] office; in the NE, it's a [POST] office; in the SE, it's a [HOME] office; and in the SW it's the [OVAL] office. Very nicely done.

My favorite corner is the SW, because it took me so long to figure out what was going on, particularly because of 36D: Need for drugs (FDAAPPR[OVAL]). Tough tough clue, combined with the strangest combination of letters. Strong work, making 61A: "This puzzle is relatively easy," say (LIE) ironically true. The other two 8-letter down answers in that corner were tough also (RINSEOUT, because "De-suds" sounds like it should be a plural, and YAKITORI, because Japanese).

I was very happy to have Gavin MACLEOD right across the center of the puzzle. I did know him best from "The Love Boat," but plenty would recall him more from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." Which one resonates most with you?

Love SAFEHARBOR and POOREXCUSE. 21A: Pilot's surroundings (GASOVEN) gets a nod of approval, especially with the lack of a question mark. I also enjoyed 57A: Odd group of musicians? (NONET), even though the answer lacked any specificity (note "trio," "quintet," or "septet" would all have satisfied as well). However, any group of musicians is likely odd, just from the get go.

Fave: NECK (60D: Make out). I was so ready for a non-blue answer here.
Least fave: NRA (F.D.R.-created program with the slogan "We Do Our Part"). Nice try, referring to the National Recovery Administration.

And I'm out. Enjoy a month or two of other people's reviews. I had a great time this month. I definitely felt like the puzzles were largely on the better than average side, with a few outstanding examples.

- Colum


  1. 34:03
    I was extremely happy about the rebus, finally! Despite the symmetrical placement of the rebus squares, the solve was made more difficult since they were all different. Like Colum, the most difficult for me was the [OVAL] square, not only because of the down, but due to the generality of [OVAL]TINE (68A Popular drink). I never heard of FUN[HOME], and would have been inclined to enter "house" instead, if not for the excellent STEAL[HOME] for the down. REDCENT (30D Pittance) is great. As a side note, before I'd figured out that a rebus was in play, I wanted kCAR or similar at 1A (even though I knew it was a sedan with no sliding door), and was at a loss with the down, wondering what letter would complete _SEATS (1D Luxuries for theatergoers), which is odd since I always check for [BOX]SEATS availability when planning a theater visit. When "The Love Boat" premiered, I was very familiar with "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," and so MACLEOD was known to me from there, although I grew accustomed to him as "Your Captain." Also, Bernie Kopell was well-known to me from "Get Smart" as Siegfried.

  2. I finished this in something just over 20 minutes, but I did not have everything correct. After quite a bit of looking, I actually went to xwordinfo to find what I couldn't figure out. Turns out, I had "club"CAR and "club"SEATS, and even though the idea of a "club office" is a little more unusual than a box office, it's still a possible solution, in my opinion. So I'm bitter about that, but I like most of the rest of it. Much of the good stuff has already been mentioned.

    I'll also add that that SW corner was tough for me, too. FDAAPPR[OVAL] was very tricky, and I laughed out loud at the "Popular drink" clue for [OVAL]TINE.