Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Wednesday, June 27, 2018, Ned White


If 57A and the Wikipedia are to be believed, sometime between 2004 and 2005 entrepreneur and then company president, Sean Parker advised Mark Zuckerberg to change the name of his nascent social media platform from The Facebook, to just Facebook, saying succinctly, we imagine, DROPTHETHE. Some may well wonder what impact that original The might have had on the success of Facebook had it been retained. I'll EAVE that to the experts.

Today's four theme answers also took Mr. Parker's advice, dropping the "the" from common phrases, leaving in their absence phrases that are made sense of (so to speak) thanks to carefully constructed clues. So, CUTTOCHASE becomes an "Early 'Saturday Night Live' camera command." My favorite is WHATSMATTER (Basic query to a physicist?). I bet that never gets ODE.

In other AREAs, I liked:
Lays flat (KOS) - nice ambiguous cluing.
Founded: Abbr. (ESTAB) - sounds more like a menacing tweet to me.
Yarn unit (SKEIN) - I misread this clue at first as "Yam unit" and wanted tuber - ha!
Its alphabet goes from Alfa to Zulu (NATO) - I like any alphabet, really.
Squalid (RATTY) - As Auntie Mame might say, "how vivid."
Calmer, in brief (TRANQ) - I prefer tranquilizer truncated with a Q.

I tried to find another reference to Airplane! in the puzzle today, to keep the theme alive, but it wasn't easy. The closest I could get was 37D. "Bloated, say" (GASSY) - more for the clue than the answer.



  1. 7:58
    A very odd puzzle (ODE puzzle? Doesn't make sense). I had the hardest time with UTERI and OCHRE, especially crossing ACK, which I've only ever seen Bill the Cat say in a comic strip. Ah, well. SINE evil, I always say.

  2. 13:11
    I, too, thought that ACK clued so vaguely wasn't quite right. Definitely a Bill the Cat line, and no other. Other than that, though, I thought the puzzle relatively COOL. Of the theme answers, I'd put BRINGSHOMEBACON as a close second to the Frannie choice of WHATSMATTER, with which I agree. Nice that WELT crosses SWATS (or is it?).

  3. My time was 20:48 with a significant part of that spent stuck in the SE. I agree with everyone that ACK is a tough (maybe even questionable) answer. For a long time I had eeK there but was also entertaining bam, pow, etc.

    Finally getting ICESKATES (instead of imagining it to be a brand name of sneakers) was the breakthrough, because I had sort of been wanting OCHRE (well or some synonym for ecru, or something like that). Other hard part was ETO crossing ROSIN but my O guess got the completion message.

    I loved the theme especially since I got one themer and said to myself, "well, that's an okay answer but a bit iffy without 'the'. Better complain about that on a crossword blog when I'm done". When I got to the revealer and the other themers, it was like, "ohhh, Ned White knew just what he was doing".

  4. 9:13

    I enjoyed this theme. Each theme answer got at least an audible snort. ... is that a compliment? Well, it's supposed to be.

    I also very much enjoyed ISNTITTIME. What a ridiculously awesome entry.