Friday, March 2, 2018

Friday, March 2, 2018, Joe DiPietro and Rachel Maddow


I still haven't started solving on paper, but I'm glad I didn't today, because I never would have known if I was done or not! I have never heard of FOIAREQUEST (58A: Journalist's tool since '67), IPCRESSFILE (15A: 1965 Michael Cane spy thriller, with "The"), or the COUGHBUTTON (18A: What might help a hacker go undetected?). That last one, I understand, but the first two I'm not really even sure how to parse. My last entries were the R and G of ARGONNE (7D: W.W. I battle locale), and even though I knew it was right, I wondered as I was filling it in if maybe there were a different WWI battle site that might fit there. I mean, the Ardennes is pretty close, right?


So anyway, the theme, if there is one, is lost on me. I've heard the name Rachel Maddow, and I guess maybe she's on TV or radio, or both, and maybe she's a reporter? Is that right? Maybe one of those TVHOSTS?

On the up side, I love that they got BITEME (11D: "Kiss my grits!") (Is Rachel Maddow from the South?) in there, and ROCKFANS (1D: Those who've seen both Europe and Asia, say) got a big groan. As did the clue for DIODE (47A: Cellphone component). Really? That's how you're cluing that? And is SLOTTING (38D: Programming manager's specialty) intended to be connected to the "theme" somehow? Because if it isn't ... !

Wait, I started that last paragraph trying to be positive. Let's get back to that. ALGORE (45D: Who said "Take it from me, every vote counts") was good/sad, and MARAUD (24D: Go pirating) and CRITIQUE (36D: Review) are good words. RSVPED ... not so much.

OK, let's call it a day.

- Horace


  1. 15:38
    A few things here: first, I'm very familiar, having spent some time in the public sector, with Freedom Of Information Act Requests. They are, more often than not, simply called FOIA requests, so it's a well-used term. Oddly, here in the state I current reside, they call it a Law rather than an Act. So here we have FOIL Requests. Either way, it is a tool that journalists, as well as, say, rabble rousers, can use to keep tabs on government officials at all levels. Sometimes those requests can be a real pain, sometimes, arguably, little more than harassment. But for the most part, the Act does more good than harm.

    The IPCRESS File is a movie based on a novel by the same name. The Archivist, whose mother was a big Michael Caine fan, knew it off the _PC________. Interestingly, the author of the novel, LEN Deighton, should be well known to solvers for the convenient, oft-used fill that his first name affords.

    As you know, I follow sports and have watched tennis for years. I have never heard the "term" NETTER. That's really poor.

    But, woah, not even a call out for ST. MORITZ? That is a surprise. I'll claim that I could have entered that with no crosses, but I already had the S________ when I read the clue. It was certainly a gimme from there.

    Ed ANSER's seven Primetime Emmys, most ever according to Wikipedia, is a nice bit of trivia.

    And lastly, Rachel Maddow? I see her name neither in the puzzle nor the clues. Is it that Mr. Hayes is a regular fill-in for Ms. Maddow or that you just couldn't bring yourself to write the name of the FOX asshole in your review? You know, when I first read that clue, I already had ___O_TS. My first, instinct, on seeing the first name in the clue, was bigOTS. I knew it wouldn't fit, and it's not fair to Mr. Hayes at all, but I was pretty sure that was going to be the answer... maybe an alternate spelling, I thought.

    1. I don't know either of the names in the clue. Rachel Maddow is co-credited as a constructor of this puzzle.

    2. Glad you don't know the first one. He's maybe the worst and most horrifying of all the FOX idiots.

  2. 41:21
    I found this a bit tougher than a typical Friday. BOONE county, this MANN fellow, a SAZERAC and OVITZ are totally unknown to me. Luckily, SCUBAS was a gimme (STMORITZ was not, Icarus), and enough others were reasonable enough that I was able to slowly fill this one in. DIODE was terrible, as was NETTER, although I must admit I figured that the latter must be a widely-used term. I tried kenO where FARO goes at first, and SoNatA where SENTRA belongs, both of which didn't help too much. I definitely didn't love this puzzle, but I slogged through it.

  3. 19:34
    I put the G in at the cross of ARGONNE and COUGHBUTTON, knowing it must be the only letter that would fit, but expecting to have gotten it wrong. I love the clue for the latter, now that I know what it is from the Google, but boy that was tough.

    The puzzle is badly segmented. There are four one-square wide connections between the NE and SW halves. I don't like that kind of puzzle in general. That being said, there are a fair number of fun answers, including STMORITZ, MAUNAKEA, and ROCKFANS in that NW. The SE corner is not nearly so exciting.

    Here are the Rachel Maddow related answers: COUGHBUTTON, ESSAY, TVHOSTS, SARS (I suppose), FOIAREQUEST, FRONTRUNNER, SLOTTING, ALGORE, and TORT (because of Ralph Nader).

    I liked 66A: Big mean on campus (GPA). Hah!