Thursday, May 31, 2018

Thursday, May 31, 2018, Dominick Talvacchio


Happily, the Greek wasn't all Greek to me, once I caught upsilon the trick of it. Each theme answer is a string of two or more letters from the Greek alphabet clued as if they were English words or phrases. To wit: 23A: Hired vehicle that's only as big as a potato crisp? (CHIPSIZETAXI). That one gets props for using the most Greek letters, but I thought the funniest one was 17A: Wager one's sculpture of the Virgin Mary cradling the body of Jesus? (BETAPIETA). The clues all struck me as something of a stretch, but I give it an alpha for effort.

It seemed to me that a lot of thought went into all, or most, of the clues in the rest of the puzzle, too, often with excellent results. Some of my favorites are:
20A: Stacked quarters?: Abbr. (APTS) - Home run!
46A: It takes a toll (EZPASS)
5D: Cher, e.g. (AMI) - this one had me going for a while. All I could think of was the singer.
56D: Adjective and adverb, for two (NOUNS) - Grammtastic!
65D: One whose office has an opening to fill?: Abbr. (DDS) - a gas!

Less recherché, but one tailor-made to AMUSE this solver:
41D: Answer to the riddle "What cheese is made backward?" (EDAM) - ha!


Other clues were well crafted and fitting, like everyone likes:
43A: What to expect (NORM)
61A: As expected (ONCUE)
68A: Embrace fully (OWN)
1D: Filler for une pipe (TABAC)

In other nus, there were a few clues, however that *were* Greek to me, or rather, I thought the clues were less apt than I like them to be.
19A: Napkins and such (LINEN) - when used in this context, LINEN needs an S
40D: Do-it-yourselfers (AMATEURS) - OK (obviously), but not fine.
57D: Opposite sides (FOES) - Ditto.

Overall, though, I was psixi'd about this one. Beta nu didn't see that gamma now did you? Iota stop now.



  1. 16:56

    This was really fun and, as you say, it wasn't just the theme. That EDAM clue is going on the list, and I thought "Opposite sides" was very clever! And what about "It has dots for spots" for MAP?!

    I didn't love NYS, SECY, or ICAL, but I want to get a "Lamb Data U." sweatshirt to wear around Cambridge. HA!

  2. Oh, and I forgot to mention that this is a debut puzzle! I will be waiting eagerly for Mr. Talvacchio's next effort!

  3. Certainly wasn't easy for me (ended up looking up some answers online), but I'll agree with the fine quality of most of the puzzle.

    One of the high points of my opera going career was to see OZAWA conduct Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades in San Francisco. Oh, qnd keep the plant clues coming, got ESCAROLE with few or no crosses.

    I really wanted "die" for "it has dots for spots" but I agree that MAP is just as apt, and quite nice.

  4. 9:00
    I too wanted "die", Jim! Fun puzzle. I have nothing to add to the very top drawer review.

  5. 36:19
    This took me awhile, compared with all of you. The west was the most difficult for me, with AMATEURS (easily the weakest of the long answers), ATOZ (which should never fool me but always does), and the great MSRP (34D Fig. on a window (and, with luck, not through the roof). Nice how CAB crosses ____TAXI. Has anyone said BYENOW?