Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tuesday, September 12, 2017, Bruce Haight


For the past couple years, Frannie and I have had the pleasure of talking with Mr. Haight at the ACPT. He is a nice guy, and a funny guy. He's also a constructor who likes to play with the crossword form and push at its boundaries. The first time I met him, I confessed that I was a crossword blogger, and we discussed one of his "stunt puzzles" in which two large I-shaped groups of black squares were used as a letter in all answers that touched them. Later that night, I went back and re-read my review of that puzzle, and found that I had nearly SAVAGED it. Unfortunately, he read it too, and the next day when we met again, I felt like a heel. It's funny, because looking back on that puzzle now, I think the concept is kind of cool. Oh well... sorry, Bruce.

Anywho, that's all water under the bridge. Today, Mr. Haight takes one of crosswordom's controversial topics, Roman numerals, and turns it into a strength, using it in an interesting and amusing way. CISTERNS becomes "101 rear ends?," AND LIFELINES becomes "51 cats?" I love the idea!

In addition to the fun theme, we get four chunky corners, and some decent seven-letter fill in the downs. I particularly enjoyed PRSTUNT (3D: Cheap way to get media attention) (and interesting, coming so close after last weekend's "prnightmare"), PRIVYTO (41D: In on), and, believe it or not, LEADORE (45D: Galena or cerussite). What can I say, I'm a sucker for geology.

We also get some "glue," as Jeff Chen politely puts it. ESPIED (22A: Spotted) always feels a bit forced, and then there's ATTA, ETTE, DOO, UTAHN (is this real?), and OMRI (14A: Father of Ahab in the Bible) (really!? I don't think I've ever heard that before). And isn't it odd that SLIM (44A: Like a long shot's chances) gets almost the exact same clue that it had on Sunday. Weird.

1A: "____ Don't Lie" (2006 Shakira hit)" (HIPS) - B. I don't know the song, but from the title, I kind of wish I did. Maybe I'll download it.
Favorite: DUELS (25D: Pacers' engagements?) - Hah!
Least: ITD (64A: "____ be my pleasure") - Obvious glue.

Overall, I enjoyed this. The theme was clever, and sometimes that's all it takes. :)

- Horace


  1. Thanks for the apology Horace! I mean, like, it's been a year and a half since that big "I guy" puzzle but I'm all for bringing it up every once in a while just to keep you humble. Thanks for blogging! Bruce

  2. 8:42
    No one likes OMRI (he was in 1 Kings), and no one in the world could have gotten that answer off of the clue, but it's fine. I didn't love RETAG or HOMELAB either (I've never heard the latter term, and I watched all of "Breaking Bad"). Add to those dislikes the glue answers mentioned by Horace, but the puzzle overall was great, IMO because Roman numerals! And the words are all amusing and worlds away from their meanings with the numerals. MISTRESSES is my favorite, but probably the most amusing was the old "Dallas" reference (who knew there were six of them?). CREEPO is excellent, and nice that HOTIRON is atop LEADORE and ANTENNA is atop IPHONES. Fun Tuesday.

  3. Yeah, this one was great. Quite a bit harder than a usual Tuesday for me--I mean like twice as hard--but that's always a good thing. I like to be challenged, and I was challenged mostly because I was too slow to the Roman numeral party. (I probably ought to do these puzzles earlier in the day). You're right, Huygens, HOMELAB is not a thing--at least not in the sense that it is a widely used phrase-- but I think it's fine as a generic, descriptive term. Love all of the themers ; hard to pick a favorite, but maybe it would be "101 rear ends?" Also, you gotta love a puzzle that references Star Trek, Star Wars, classical mythology, and the Bible. My one complaint is SPF for "Beach bottle letters." I'm a dinosaur; to me bottles are glass, not plastic. I really wanted SOS.

    1. SOS would have been great! But maybe on a Friday, without a question mark.

  4. 4:23
    Outstanding theme. Each theme answer uses a different Roman numeral. What fun to come up with these varied examples. Yeah, I don't love a lot of the fill. CREEPO in particular seems completely ad hoc. But it's okay. The theme saves it in my book.

  5. OK, the rest of you can raise an eyebrow at OMRI, HOMELAB, and HIPS don't lie. I, meanwhile, am distraught. Because I (not knowing the song either) guessed lIPS don't lie. And then (not knowing the 1 Ki ngs dude) guessed iMRI (could have been aMRI). And that gave me liMELAB which didn't really seem like a thing, but who knows?

    Typicalish Tuesday at 12:13 (including time futilely looking for an error elsewhere in the grid).

    Anyway, enough whining about the DNF. Theme was really a delight. And I agree there's a lot of good fill. I figured it was --STUNT early, but it took a long time to figure out the PR. Oh, and I think we went over the UTAHN thing last time this was in a puzzle and at least according to https://www.buzzfeed.com/mckaycoppins/dont-call-utahns-utahans it would seem UTAHN is the real deal.