Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wednesday, March 21, 2018, Laura Braunstein

0:07:54 (paper)

A silly theme today with common expressions being clued to emphasize the animal homonym of the opening verb. DUCKSOUTOFVIEW for example, is clued with "Why the hunter couldn't shoot the mallards?" A bit tortured, I guess, as the more natural answer would probably be "Because the ducks were out of view," but you get the picture. The other three are all much better, and I guess my favorite is 47A: Whose conversation might be about shaggy hair and Himalayan peaks? (YAKSONTHEPHONE). So absurd.
I'm always a little troubled by clues like 34A: Who's doing this crossword (YOU), because it's really not YOU, it's me! Grrr.... but I did enjoy 6A: Where a person in charge is making the rounds? (BAR), 41A: His last words were "The rest is silence" (HAMLET), 51D: In good shape (HALE), BAFFLE (9D: Confound), and 25D: Many a single-gear bicycle (FIXIE), although I think the percentage of FIXIES drops precipitously the farther you move away from Brooklyn. :)

The long downs are adequate. DESKSETS (5D: Combo office accessories) and RESTSTOP (8D: Traveler's convenience) are a little ho-hum, but certainly not objectionable. IDIOTBOX (37D: Boob tube) is strong, and who doesn't enjoy a TAKEHOME (38D: Not-so-intimidating sort of test)? I even like SCOTTY (43D: Who was instructed to "Beam me up" on old TV), of course, even if it is now quite dated. So am I! 

Fun, clever theme. Decent Wednesday.

- Horace


  1. 8:53
    We had bonus fill, maybe, with BARKS, and then there were TREVI and, though I don't celebrate it, PIDAY for nice enough answers. I've been to BILOXI (for 6-1/2 months) and OAHU (for a few hours), but I've never heard of a FIXIE. I'm with Horace on the strong IDIOTBOX and on the questionable YOU. HAMLET, of course, went right in for everyone.

  2. 5:30
    Strangely though, I had H____ for 41A, and started to enter HArpo_, only to realize I had one space too many. I only wish he'd said those as his last words. Apt! My other slowdown came after I put Ion in at 15A: Suffix with project (ILE), and then tried to enter inSuranc at 8D: Traveler's convenience (RESTSTOP). That's where I could have used the other extra square!

    I knew of FIXIEs from that Joseph Gordon Levitt movie Premium Rush, which was actually a really fun movie. I did enjoy PIDAY, even if we're a week late to have it in the puzzle.

  3. Hmm, I wonder if HALFTAUDAY could be worked into a puzzle. Probably too obscure of a reference, though.

    Oddly enough, I thought YAKSONTHEPHONE was the weakest themer, not because I don't like the image, just that the two meanings of "on the phone" are pretty much identical (as contrasted most obviously with SEALSWITHAKISS in which "kiss" has two completely different meanings).

    Fun puzzle, typical Wednesday difficulty (11:27, no errors).