Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tuesday, December 5, 2017, Zhouqin Burnikel and Harry Smith


Once again, my lack of contemporary popular culture knowledge is a bit of a problem. I didn't recognize the name Harry Smith as someone famous, so the whole "newsroom" theme didn't really come through. For those like me, the theme is seen in 17A: Anchor man? (POPEYETHESAILOR), 25A: Sound technician? (MARINEBIOLOGIST), 48A: Beat reporter? (ALLENGINSBERG), and 65A: Executive producer? (WHARTON). "Anchor man" and "Beat reporter" work well, and I guess you need those other two, but they are definitely more generic roles. I actually like the punniness of the answers much more than I do the theme itself.


There's also lots in the fill that I like today. The two long Downs - ROADCLOSED and IMNOTREADY are both good, and there's bonus material in ASSAILSTEROIDSCARABANOINT, and the full ALGORE. I even like GOTYA (50D: Successful prankster's cry).

1A: Kindergarten learning (ABCS) - D. Kindergarteners aren't truly graded, but 1A is.
Best: SADDAY (39A: What dropping off a last child at college is, to many parents). I have never dropped off any kids at college, but I was the last one that my parents dropped off, so this made me think of them fondly. I wonder what they said to one another on the long drive home from Wisconsin?
Worst: CIGNA (Giant in health plans)

HATTIPS (56A: Quaint gestures of gratitude) was amusing, don't you think?

- Horace


  1. Well, my favorite is MARINEBIOLOGIST. Also liked BED and SCARAB.

    I guess in the grand scheme of things CIGNA is a bad answer. I guess it works a bit better for me since my current employer has business dealings with CIGNA.

  2. 7:02
    I'd entered aetNA off of the ___NA, so I thought that CIGNA was nice for a change. Knowing Harry Smith, I thought the theme a pretty good one. I'd forgotten about SUEBEE products. I didn't love the OREO/OBOE cross of crosswordese, though the clue for the latter was good (23D Instrument with cane blades). On balance, I thought that the puzzle recovered well from the initial red flag of ABCS. SCARAB is great, as is HATTIPS.

  3. 5:50
    I remember seeing Harry Smith in the ballroom on Sunday morning at ACPT this year, so I knew something was up.

    I don't normally read the Deb Amlen writeup, but I was interested to learn that there is a They Might Be Giants song that quotes the opening lines of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”.

    This was not too bad, despite all of the themers being puns.

    I suppose I'm the only one in our little group who has never heard of SUEBEE. That section was rough for me. Alas.