Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday, September 17, 2017, Mark Maclachlan


A fun little loop-the-loop theme today, where the letters in the grayed out squares (in the online solving version, anyway - I'm not sure what it looked like on paper) are treated like little loops in a Hot Wheels track. I got the trick on the weakest one, in my opinion, BEV[ERAGER]OOM (25A: Beer parlor), and then went back immediately to fill in LOBST[ERTHER]MIDOR (23A: Fancy French shellfish dish). That one's fine, but "beverage room?" Yeah, that's what we like to call that place we go for drinks. "Hey, let's meet after work in the beverage room. It'll be loads of fun!"

The other theme answers were all pretty good. SPOIL[ERALER]T (91A: Reason to stop reading) might have been my favorite, but CONC[ERTSER]IES was on point because last night Frannie and I saw the first in a five opera series about Joan of Arc. This was Tchaikovsky's "Maid of Orleans," and - spoiler alert - it was fantastic! Also - second spoiler alert - it doesn't end well for ol' Joanie.

It might have been slightly nicer if the loops had extended some 21-letter answers into the grid, but one can't have everything, can one.

1A: Naval engagements (SEAWARS). - D.
Favorite: BRACE (51D: Pair) - Love me some old-fashioned language.
Least:HEME (18D: Pigment in red blood cells) - Even though it was totally guessable, I don't like this one.

So it was an ok theme, but there wasn't a whole lot else that was super interesting. I liked the two "It's got you covered" clues (ATTIRE, SHELTER), and a few of the question-mark clues were fun. Then there was stuff like OOM, UTE, ETH, STER, SIE, ESA, and the like. Let's say it was fine.

- Horace


  1. 16:04
    I was able to pick up early on the theme (in particular, on 91A: SPOILERALERT) and make quick work of this one; just seconds off of my best Sunday time.

    I'm still not sure I understand BRACE (51D: Pair), so I'll have to ask Horace to explain this one at our next encounter. The rest of it was a smooth affair.

  2. DNF
    Boy, I blasted through this one too, but UTAUSTIN, FAIRUSE and EMDASH would not come, no matter how long I stared at the puzzle. I loved the theme, figuring it out pretty quickly. I even got SENECA off of RENAL. BEV[ERAGER]OOM is abysmally terrible.

  3. Went very quickly for me. Agree totally about BEV[ERAGER]OOM. I stared at that for a while, especially since I had put in IGoTIT for "Totally understood". HEME is fine by me. I also agree with Huygens. UTAUSTIN was super tough, but fortunately I got EMDASH and FAIRUSE, so the crosses made it.

    1. Wow, I completely missed that every loop starts and ends with -ER. That's pretty impressive. That's where the title comes in, I guess. Also, PRIONS is awesome and is my fave for the puzzle.

    2. Wow! Thanks for that. I obviously missed that too. Impressive!