Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesday, August 16, 2017, Andrew Kingsley and John Lieb


I totally did not see this revealer coming, which is the sign of an excellent collection of theme answers, right? In this case, each of the four has a different spin on spinning, thus leading to SPINCLASS, which is in fact a fifth example of spinning. My head is spinning. I like that the four examples are so different in contemporaneity as well, from MINNESOTAFATS up to SKRILLEX.

Honestly, the fill is pretty smooth as well. I'm a little tired of seeing AJA in the grid, no matter how classic the record may have been. It did rank 145 on Rolling Stones' 500 greatest albums of all time, and we all know how much weight the authors of this blog place on the rankings in that list.

Oh, yeah, and OREIDA, that collection of crossword friendly vowels. I also don't like non-winning (or winning) tic-tac-toe rows (OXO). Um, and FORA, a partial.

I was amused by 40A: Asset for a press secretary (TACT), which has been absent in recent examples. MAE West's quotations are always good for a chuckle, and support her ongoing inclusion in crossword puzzles.

Otherwise, I like a good WINELIST, but the other long answers are fairly neutral.

Okay, I liked the theme a lot, and in retrospect I think that colored my view of the rest of the puzzle. But that's okay. Sometimes it works like that. On balance I'll give it a thumbs up.

1A: Early Peruvian (INCAN). C. It's very standard crossword fare.
Fave: ELAINE (31A: J. Peterman employee on "Seinfeld"). I recall with delight the scene where Mr. Peterman has absconded to Burma ("You may know it as Myanmar...").
Least fave: OXO.

- Colum


  1. 5:57
    I believe this was puzzle #2 at the recent inaugural Boswords tournament in Boston, in which case some solvers have seen this one before.

    No issues for me, and I now have all three puzzles this week in the 5 minute range (which will surely end on Thursday).

  2. 12:23 (typical Wednesday)

    Agreed that the theme was subtle, in the sense of it not being obvious what the answers have in common until you look at the revealer and each answer in turn. Somehow it didn't quite grab me. Maybe I am too much in the habit of looking for puns and other wordplay?

    I had the same reaction to TACT: must be talking about some organization other than the White House, or some time in the (now distant) past.

    Nice clue for ELEMENTS. I suppose that would make a good theme (been done at some point, I assume).

    I don't know if I'm sick of AJA (in fact, I would have been lost without crosses, so it hasn't yet entered my crosswordese dictionary of things I would never know but for puzzles). But I'm not a fan of ANTI (well, ANTIS here but unlike some I don't really penalize for the dodgy plural). Maybe if clued as a prefix I'd be happier, it is just that it is usually clued as a noun and I just don't see it used that way in real life. I mean, many dictionaries have the noun, so I won't try to call total BS, but the prefix strikes me as the usual usage (and probably easier to find non-boring clues for, anyway).

  3. 8:12
    Some good stuff in here: LOWED, SPIDERMAN, MINSK, ARRIBA, KATANA, WASABI and EATSIT (to add to those mentioned above). Nice that the whole PATSAJAK is in there. I, like Colum, give the theme a thumbs up as well the puzzle on balance. Never heard of MARADONA.

  4. 6:35
    There was a Boswords tournament?! Where was I!?

    I liked this theme, which I did not understand as I was doing it. I am on vacation with very limited internet, so I stole away and got onto a hotspot and quickly finished the puzzle and then got back to the analog delights of card games and scrabble. It was only now, when I unexpectedly have some free alone time, that I was able to read this review and then go back and look carefully at the puzzle, that I finally understood it. Nice.