Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wednesday, November 8, 2017, Joel Fagliano and Sam Ezersky


You know it must be Wednesday when you get an oddball theme like this one. Honestly, it played mostly like a themeless, and it looks like a themeless as well. There are non-theme answers that are as long as the shortest theme answers. The organization of the theme answers is symmetric but non-traditional.

I don't know. It's a strange thing. Take a multisyllabic word which has a hidden word (or not so hidden) in its last syllable, with just three letters before it, and then find three examples of the hidden word whose first initials make up those three letters. Boy, that's hard to describe!

In any case, my favorite was PASSPORTS (P-A-S sports), because the hidden word is actually unexpected. HUSBANDS, less so. It still works, because the "band" portion of "husband" comes from the old Norse bondí, which means occupier and tiller of the soil (who lives in the "hús", or house), and that has nothing to do with a bunch of musicians getting together to play songs.

Etymology is fun.

Anyway, I really liked DADROCK (I do listen to those particular bands, actually). It's funny because it's true. CLEARSKY is good as well, as is YESORNO. I've been reading a number of books on bridge recently (the card game), so I see 40D: In this puzzle it starts B-E-L (ONEDOWN) and think of a different meaning. Is it odd that this clue echoes the theme clues? Maybe 1D should have been clued as "Blanc, Everest, Lachat"...

I was tickled by having FEELS above FELL. Don't really know why. Also GROSZ (never heard of it) next to YEN (not clued as a currency).

1A: Rotten (BAD) - C.

- Colum


  1. 8:26
    I enjoyed this oddball, and I thought of 40D (B-E-L, etc.) as an oblique nod to the theme. I chuckled when I finally got it.

    Your quibble with HUSBANDS was amusing.

    I'm pretty sure I passed Mr. Ezersky as I was walking near Harvard Square the other day, but it took me a long time to finally recognize who he was. I've only ever seen him at the tournament, so seeing him elsewhere did not compute. I'll be on the lookout now, though! Not that I have anything particular to say to him except "Hi, I enjoyed your recent puzzle." Perhaps that's enough.

  2. 40D actually did help me get the theme (in an oblique sort of way).

    I had argON before XENON, which strikes me as a nerdy sort of mistake to make ("well, iodine is in group VII, so the answer must be a noble gas or a group VI element"). I suppose another nerdy dead end was to see the clue about vibrating body parts and start wondering what the Latin names are for the bones of the inner ear, but EARDRUM is even simpler.

    Oh, and the time. 17:53, slow for a Wednesday.

  3. 15:02 (FWOE)
    Yes, slow for a Wednesday. And I, too, needed the revealer at 40D to get the theme. APOSTATES is enjoyable. My error came at the LCD/ARCADIA cross because I'd dropped LeD right in off of the clue and didn't check the cross, which, in my defense, I know isn't AReADIA. Nice to see Howard Stern Official Show Announcer George TAKEI in there. Amusing pairing of DRINKER/SOUSE.

  4. I had to sit this one out, as I had already completed it the previous Saturday at the Arlington Puzzle Fest tournament.

    APOSTATES was the one that gave away the theme for me.

    I also had an encounter once with Mr. Ezersky. I was riding on an empty Metro car on a Saturday morning from Reston, VA to Washington, DC. Although we were the only two people on the car, sadly I didn't make the connection and realize it was him until we both got off at the same stop.