## Tuesday, August 29, 2017

### Tuesday, August 29, 2017, Adam G. Perl

5:02

Tuesday faster than a Monday. It think that says more about yesterday's puzzle than today's.

I'm a really big fan of this theme. First of all, there are four 15-letter answers, two of them by virtue of the 50% increase in numbers. Second, the three original answers, "twenty questions," "ten-foot pole," and "Eight Days a Week," are all very strong. And finally, the revealer, TOOCLEVERBYHALF, explains the puzzle in a self-conscious teasing way. I love it.

I figured out THIRTYQUESTIONS first, and wondered where the heck that came from. At first, when I had THIRTYQUE____, I was wondering if the question ("Classic game needing no equipment") was referring to 500, but that was clearly the wrong number, and in any case you need a baseball bat, a baseball, and any number of gloves to play it. Once I got FIFTEENFOOTPOLE, it was clear that everything was too much by a factor of 1.5.

28D: Lies (FALSEHOODS) confused me for a bit. I had FALSEHOpeS, which is sort of correct. TOpCLEVER____ put me right. I also had STeady at 44D: Kind of income a lending officer likes to see (STABLE). In this case, I like my answer better. Otherwise I had no true stumbling blocks.

10D: Words of encouragement (CHINUP) was clued oddly. I wonder if initially it was clued with reference to the exercise. I wanted to put CROUP in off of the clue, but hesitated because I wanted "satire" for SNL's COMEDY.

Isn't 29D: Hardly a celebrity (NOBODY) harsh? I mean, I'm hardly what you'd call famous, but I'd like to think I'm a little more than just a nobody. 37A: High winds? (OBOES) is a nice way to clue this standard piece of crosswordese. The only higher winds are flutes and piccolos.

1A: Staple of Chinese cuisine (RICE) gets a C. I had Chinese food tonight, but it was disappointing.
Fave: STOLE (62A: It's a wrap). Fun clue. And better than cluing with the past tense of steal.
Least fave: OTIS (23D: "Miss" with regrets). I now understand the clue, as it refers to a Cole Porter song, "Miss Otis Regrets," and thus is deserving of recognition. But the clue as it's presented is a mystery, IMHO, and well out of a Tuesday level.

Pretty good puzzle!

- Colum

1. 12:02 (slow to normal for Tuesday)

Wonderful theme for all the stated reasons. I got the revealer first and that made it fairly easy to get the other themers (especially since I had some crosses by then).

The fill had too many names, so no great enthusiasm there. Did like FLORA (finally, a plant clue where I don't ask myself, "fine, but am I the only one who knows what an axil, a stamen, or an involucre are?" Well, not sure I've ever seen involucre in a crossword, but you get the idea.

2. 6:04
Man, I loved that OTIS clue! That song brings Ella to mind, of course, but I really liked that version by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl that was included on the "Red, Hot, and Blue" CD back in, what, 1990? Am I really this old? Anyway, look it up. Even that remake is now an Oldie. Sheesh!

I liked this one, too, and I wish I had gotten the revealer first, like Jim, because when I got the first one I thought "Well, maybe I just don't know the real game," and then when I got the second, I was thinking of the Grinch song and the 39 and a half foot pole, so I was clearly confused. Finally, when I got TWELVEDAYSAWEEK I was instantly filled with a white-hot rage thinking "That's not right!" Idiot.

3. And Colum - your commentary on NOBODY made me think "In short, whoever you may be,/To this conclusion you'll agree,/When everyone is somebody,/Then no one's anybody!"

1. By the by, can I offer you anything after your voyage? A plate of macaroni and a rusk?

4. 9:31
OLMOS should have been clued referencing Commander Adama; I mean, c'mon. The theme is great, as it involves mathematics. I agree with Mr. Kingdon in that there are a few too many proper names, and I'll surely be on the lookout for involucre in future crosswords.