Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tuesday, September 5,2017, Jeff Chen and Michelle Kenney


A Broadway theme today, with circled letters in four answers spelling out the shows Hair, Grease, Cats, and Wicked. The answers holding those shows are hit or miss. I enjoyed GREEKVASE (27A: Piece of pottery featuring Achilles, say), and the clue for CAMOPANTS (50A: Military bottoms, informally) made me chuckle, but HAWAIIANAIR and WISECRACKED were less good.

The fill had the usual highlights and lowlights. SCHISM (1D: Serious rift) and ARABLE (2D: Supportive of cultivation) up in the beginning quadrant got things off to a good start. Further on, STAMINA (40D: Staying power), STREWN (31D: Scattered), and AMIDST (53A: In the thick of) are all nice. I didn't really like the clue for AMPM (10A: Clock setting for an alarm). Why is it just for an alarm? The clock also needs to be set correctly for the alarm to work.

A lot of colloquial answers were included today, with varying effect: DIDASET (weak), IADMITIT (fine), BETHATWAY (better), OHWAIT (meh), ISWEAR (ok), ENDSIT (fine), ITRY (fine), and my favorite - GODNO (26D: Emphatic rejection). I also liked the "informal" DARNEDEST. Heh.

Two clues I liked: 31A: They're heard but not seen (SOUNDS) and 60D: Nickname formed by three consecutive letters of the alphabet (STU).

1A: What some castles are made of (SAND) - B-. Again, for the clue.
Favorite: GODNO
Least: MESSED (13D: Fooled (around)). No.

Lastly, GINKGO was tricky, because I often see it spelled "gingko." But the crosses today were all fair.

- Horace


  1. I liked this one very little. The puzzle is completely devoid of pizazz, that's the best way I can put it. Funny, the only downs I liked at all were three you have spotlighted: SCHISM, ARABLE, STREWN. Look more closely at the downs, there are very few actual words, and, as you note, way too many phrases. Personally, I don't think any of the phrases pop at all, or are cleverly clued. The theme is meh, and it really couldn't have been that hard to come up with long answers that are bookended by HA-IR, GRE-ASE, CA-TS, and WI-CKED. Surprising to have Chen's name associated with this dreck.

  2. 10:20
    Well, I thought this was fine, although now that people mention it, there were quite a few phrases that, as ET59 mentions, didn't pop. For me, HAWAIIANAIR will always be welcome in the grid, and I look forward to flying on it again. SEADOG is a nice down, no? And ICARUS, IRONMAN and MAFIADON? All good IMHO.

  3. This was pretty good, didn't really have major issues although I did struggle with some of the slang here and there at first.
    What I would say is that for the combinations used for the theme, I'd say only CA-TS is easy to fill. HA-IR may have some decent possibilities, but try finding alternates for GREASE and WICKED in any combo. What other famous shows with short names could also split for potential themes?

  4. 5:03
    I like Broadway, so I liked finding the hidden shows. BETHATWAY and and GODNO are very good.