Friday, December 22, 2017

Friday, December 22, 2017, Sam Trabucco

0:17:02 (F.W.O.E.)

Abba EBAN is just the kind of proper name that requires me to rely entirely on crosses, and in this case, one of them let me down. I interpreted "11D: Cried dramatically" (BOOHOOED) as "yelled" or "called" dramatically, and entered yOOHOOED rather early on. And EyAN seeming almost as plausible to me as EBAN, I left it in. Oh well. He seems to have been quite the orator, and I will try to add him to my knowledge of mid-twentieth century figures in international politics.


So that's one disappointment. Another was 1A: Piece of equipment at a rock concert (GUITARAMP) (B-), for which I quickly and happily entered "amplifier." I was glad to think that the oft-abbreviated crossword favorite was getting a chance to show itself in all its glory, but no, it was once again abbreviated. Oh, ok, I suppose "amp" is an accepted word without a period, but come on, it's still an abbreviation. See also: TECHSCHOOLS (27A: Engineer training centers).

Let's move on to things I liked. TALLAHASSEE (33A: Major U.S. city with three pairs of double letters in its name) (and a great album by the Mountain Goats!) was lovely, and I was also very happy to see GALLIVANTED (34A: Went from place to place)! Such a good word. YPRES (41A: W.W. I battle site) was timely for me, as I have recently been doing some transcription of WWI documents over at Europeana's Transcribathon. Very interesting to read first-hand accounts from that time.

PRICE (42D: What's always found in quotes?) got a nice clue, but 48D: Letters on old film boxes (AGFA) seemed cheap. Would that clue be allowed if the answer were "Fuji" or "Kodak?"  I know they were probably hoping we'd try "Asas," but I don't like it. I also wonder what the sisterhood would think of GIRLCODE. Doesn't sound like a term nuns would use. I assume it's not referring to nuns, but still... And "55A: Spongy toy going up in popularity?" (NERFROCKET) didn't really make any sense to me either. Yes, I know what NERFROCKETs are - I even had one! - but what's funny or fitting about the "popularity" part?

Adding to my displeasure were such things as HAVEA (30D: Words with cow or ball) and TARED (33D: Like many a purchase weighed at a deli).  Do the ASSETS outweigh ACOUPLE of less-than-idea entries? Sometimes, but there were a few more than a couple today.

- Horace


  1. 18:38
    I liked this a lot more than you did. I also happily put in amplifier to start, then somehow thought Idi Amin could have called himself "Great." But then India.ARIE didn't fit. I didn't know it, but I knew it started with an A, so amplifier was out. I'm perfectly happy with the misdirection and the eventual GUITARAMP, amp solidly in the vernacular since I was a kid playing Boston songs. I restarted, after removing amplifier and idi, with SERGEI. I'd make a bit of a wager that Colum started with that, too.

    Also, NERFROCKET was a gimme for me, having two boy children, and it went in with only the N from HON. And what, not impressed by the quint stack in the middle? Tough room. Sure, you've got HAVEA, but just about everything else there seems solid to me. ELLIS island, CANOE, FISHSTORY, HOSED is great, STALLSOUT is retro, although I still drive a stick (MINI). Elsewhere, I loved ROOMTONEGOTIATE. THELEGIONOFDOOM took way more crosses than it should have (again, I have two sons), and ESCAPEROOM is trendy. And how about FREAKY (37D: Way out)? You weren't expecting that from Mr. Shortz, were you?

  2. 10:45
    I also didn't like NERFROCKET. The clue was just trying too hard. But TARED actually didn't bother me. After using that word so many times in Boggle, it's nice to actually see it actually used (sort of) in a sentence.

    I considered AMPLIFIER for 1A but didn't write it since, well, it's Friday and I never get 1A straight away on a Friday. So I guess I saved myself a few seconds there. On the other hand, perhaps this is a slippery slope argument because on a Saturday I should just sit there paralyzed knowing that my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd instincts are often wrong on Saturday. So maybe I'm too hard on myself. Maybe I should try a week where I drink a hearty glass of wine before each puzzle (well except maybe on Monday).

    Anyhow, I lucked out on BOOHOOED so a good day overall. (Any day is a good day when my childhood time watching Gleek and Aquaman face off against Solomon Grundy and Lex Luthor score a big payoff.)

  3. 7:25
    I did not start with "amplifier. I had REGS followed by ARIE, and then SERGEI. I absolutely loved 9D: Game with a 40-millimeter ball, informally (PONG). That's funny cluing. Then I had ____ARAMP, and figured out GUITARAMP. Also EBAN was a gimme from the clue. Anyhoo, I already had BOOHOOED in place when I answered it. I agree that the clue for NERFROCKET was trying too hard, but I love the answer, and also love SNAKEEYES. So I agree, tough room, Horace!

    1. Oh, wait. I was thinking of the video game. That ball was a good deal less than 40 millimeters in size. In that game the ball was 6 pixels by 6 pixels.

    2. And, right, I did not link PONG at all, for just that reason. As a clue for the break-out video game of the 1970s, it would have been a great clue. But it was not. The clue was for a game that I have played a great deal in my life (I'm going to take a flyer here and postulate that I've played it more than all of the rest of you combined, although I, of course, don't know that, but the point is I've played it a lot) and never once have I or anyone I've played referred to Ping PONG as simply PONG. Never. Terrible clue.

  4. 25:33
    It took me a bit longer than others. THELEGIONOFDOOM took many crosses for me, too. I'm with Icarus, enjoying the puzzle as a whole, and especially that stack in the middle. SERGEI was my first confident answer, but probably FREAKY was my favorite, mostly due to the clue. Nice that there's no question mark on that or on it's sister, 16A Bats (LOCO). Very nice Friday, IMO. Shout out to MOE; I wanted Duff in there, but no.