Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sunday, September 10, 2017, Brendan Emmett Quigley


It took me quite a while to figure out the theme today, and when I did, it allowed me to find my error, which was at SHARKSIPHONSOUP (3D: Order to a pool hustler to suck up some broth?). I had entered "sharp" for the "pool hustler" part, thinking, I guess, of the term "card sharp," and SpYTEL didn't mean any more or less to me than SKYTEL does. It was only when I realized that it was the "sigh" sound that mattered (the "matters" in the title seems a bit off, or else the "plural" "size" does...) that I saw they were going for "shark's fin soup." I don't pronounce "siphon" with a "fin" sound at the end, so that, too, seemed a bit off. 

So that made me a little cranky. The other themers were better: STATICCYCLING (Spin class activity?) (static cling), and SAIGONFISHING (Rod-and-reel event in old Vietnam?) (Gone Fishing) were fine, and I enjoyed the old-timeyness of DRAWSSINAI (Makes a quick map of an Egyptian peninsula) (why quick?) (draws nigh). But overall, the answers before the "sigh" is taken away are just a bit too nonsensical for my tastes. Sigh.

1A: "Watch yourself out there" (BESAFE) - C
Favorite: 21D: "Down goes Frazier!" sportscaster (COSELL). I'm guessing ET59 will need most of the crosses for this one. :)
Least: IDYLIST (33D: Pastoral poet) - Come on.

That middle area near IDYLIST had a bunch of less-than-ideal answers. ICEDIN, AAR, YLEM, LALAS, ONENO, HEP, and UNCASE. One of those would be fine, but all of them is too many.

I enjoyed WENTPRO (67A: Left college athletics, maybe), and I'm happy to now know that  LADOGA is "83A: Europe's largest lake." I hope I remember that. 92A: Action at a bris (SNIP) was slightly amusing, but also a bit much. 

Overall, I didn't love it, which is surprising, because I usually enjoy Mr. Quigley's puzzles. Plus, he's a hometown hero here in the Cambridge area. If you're reading this, I look forward to your next one!

- Horace


  1. Finished with my mother in NYC. We agreed that this puzzle didn't hit for the "sigh"-cle. Yeah, sorry. Anyway, too much ugli-ness, not enough LOLs.

  2. 34:17 (FWTE)
    I also did not enjoy this one and was not able to figure out the theme at all, which made it a lot more difficult to solve.

    Error #1: NAIFE/FOX (77D/93A) instead of NAIVE/VOX. Yes, naife looks stupid in retrospect but Fox worked perfectly so I didn't even think twice about it

    Error #2: AME/ONEONTA (13D/24A) I don't feel so bad about this one as it is the typical NYT garbage where they assume everyone has encyclopedic knowledge about every obscure thing in the state of New York (and black churches to boot).

  3. 34:07 (FWOE)
    Mr. Berman's Error #2 was my one; I wholeheartedly agree that this cross is garbage. Other than that, though, I enjoyed the puzzle and even most of the theme answers. I'd never (surprisingly to me) heard of YLEM, but I should have so it's fair, and now I know it. I spent a few minutes in the SW, otherwise would have been in the 20s, which is a bit fast for my taste for a Sunday. STONED is daring.