Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wednesday, November 22, 2017, Timothy Polin


Yesterday's puzzle was international, but today's is global. It appears that the grid is reimagined as a world map, with the edges of the puzzle representing the cardinal directions, while the two tropics and the EQUATOR go across the middle. I liked how the tropics were both split across two answers, namely ICAN / CERES and CAPRI / CORN.

The theme gave itself away on 1A: Home to Santa's workshop ([NORTH]POLE). Only one answer serves, but there was space enough only for "pole". Once I had the odious ODEA in place at 2D, the process was confirmed.

It's quite impressive to have three examples each of [direction]word along each edge. My favorite trio was [SOUTH]KOREA, [SOUTH]PAWS, and [SOUTH]BEND, because at least one of the terms was not truly directional in nature (yes, lefties have their left hand to the south when they pitch, but it's not a name of a place or an obvious direction like [EAST]WIND).

Anyway, there are some fine long bonus answers here as well. I myself like a LIQUIDDIET de temps à temps, although that's not the pre-op preference they're talking about here. SUGARSNAP and LASTINLINE were both good. EXTREMITY is a chunky word, though not with the same brilliance of the others.

I also very much enjoyed MEDULLA for obvious reasons, both professional and because of the really excellent Björk album of the same name. Symmetrically, I had high hopes for 47A: Queen in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (TITANIA) when I had the first three letters entered from the crosses. I still really love the final answer though.

On the down side, you get REQD, ABOX (Has anyone ever used the phrase "As dumb as rocks in a box"?), your everyday random NTILE scrabble tile clue, and the antiquated ENOW. All that was not enough to overcome the fun of solving though. I'm definitely in favor here.

- Colum


  1. 12:04 (FWTE)

    "Area of longtime contention" for BANK? What am I missing here? And crossing that with the random NTILE and the obscure ALOIS was too much for this solver.

    Also, the letter N is, according to Wikipedia, more frequently used in the English language than the letters S and R, and I'm guessing they're still a one-pointers in Words With Friends, whatever that is. (Kidding, I understand from the clue that it's a Scrabble rip-off.)

    My area of contention aside, I loved the theme. I got the shaded latitude lines quickly, but it took me much longer to fully appreciate what was happening on the EXTREMITYs. Very nice work there.

    And I've always preferred the expression "Dumb as a post."

    1. Speaking of "dumb as a post," Frannie finally clued me in - I don't know why, but the "West" part of West BANK just totally didn't register for me. Derp!

  2. 7:36
    It took me much longer than Mr. Amory to suss out the directional theme - primarily because normally I don't expect this sort of chicanery on my Wednesday's. I had to pause and wonder if I missed a day and today was actually Thursday (holiday weeks will often do that to me).

    But no, I finally deduced what was going on when entering BEND for the Notre Dame clue. Then went back and moved through everything else with great celerity.

    I had ABAG for the clue about the rocks.

    I'm also getting tired of not knowing NISEI, which is popping up often enough that I'll have to figure what that is all about. (And I might as well look up SUET while I'm at it.)

  3. 15:35
    I, like Colum, got the directional thing pretty quickly, but the puzzle as a whole took me slightly longer to solve. The NE and SW each took a little more time than I'd have liked. BITER reminded me how much I dislike a dog. I suppose, being a runner, that I own some items of clothing with LYCRA in it, but I needed most of the crosses. Odd that ASIAN and NISEI are both in the puzzle, in the east, no less. TACTILE is nice, as is, as Colum mentions a LIQUIDDIET. MEDULLA and CERES went right in. I thought that CAB should have been clued as a companion to LIQUIDDIET, but alas. Anyway, thumbs up on this one; it was a pleasant surprise to have a little trick on a Wednesday.

  4. 17:25

    I had eMEND before AMEND (checking a dictionary, AMEND is legit).

    Theme is nice but it would seem to come at the price of a lot of lackluster answers like CIV, ENOW, REQD, ONDVD, NTILE, and RIPON.