Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Wednesday, June 6, 2018, Richard F. Mausser


Your average quip puzzle takes longer than a straightforward themer, I've found. This is a fun quotation, and I suppose whenever you find a one-liner that neatly fits into symmetric pieces (5-14-13-14-5 in this case), a constructor is semi-obligated to undertake said puzzle.

Ken Dodd, stand-up comic, the "last great music-hall entertainer," was born in 1927 and died this year in March, performing nearly up until he passed away. Does that make him a contemporary or a relic? Either way, the quip is strong enough to stand on its own.

I made two misguesses that slowed me down. The first was 55A: Potential Emmy nominee (TVSTAR). I tried TVShow. I like my answer better, especially nowadays when stars of television shows are so rarely TV only. The other came at 53D: John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter served in it (USNAVY). I had US___Y and put in USarmY. Wrong, and I knew it was wrong, but sometimes you can't help yourself.

The construction of the grid leaves us with few outstanding long answers. I very much enjoyed WHOVILLE as well as SUBURBIA. 39D: Kind of off-season baseball "league" (HOTSTOVE) leaves something to be desired as a partial.

Some cute clues:

37A: It's not free of charge (ION).
31D: Bank charge (FEE) - because of the comparison to the above.
8D: What's within your range? (OVEN). Although not in my case. My stovetop and my oven are separate.

And just to finish out, I thought it was a pod of whales, not a GAM. But when I Google it, I see both are acceptable.

- Colum


  1. 7:54

    Funny, I grew up with GAM as one of the first pieces of trivia I knew. And then when I learned that "pod" was also acceptable, I thought it cheapened the whole "name of a group of somethings" thing. And now when someone says "a murder of crows" or whatever, I just snarl and say "sure, some people call it that..." No. I'm not bitter or anything...

    Another knee-jerk reaction that I have is to say that "quote puzzles" are usually no good, but this one is pretty darn funny. Hah!

  2. I'm the same way with whales except that I learned pod first and only later ran across GAM. I was skeptical of the whole murder of crows thing all along, so I guess I didn't have many illusions to dis, but I'm glad to hear there's someone else who doesn't buy into it.

    And I guess quote puzzles take longer for me too, at least this one did (23:25).

    Oh and HOTSTOVE is more confirmation that baseball is the sport for crosswords. Perhaps because it has so much language around it, with at least one baseball dictionary having been published.

  3. 9:38
    I started with pod, also, for whales, and am only now coming across GAM (which I thought was an old-timey (pre-MeToo) way to refer to human female legs). I never heard of HOTSTOVE, was surprised to see PYGMY, and would like to express displeasure at YORKER, if I may, and OSIS. And has anyone, anywhere, ever refered to the city as STJOE? But I'm not complaining, because I, too, actually enjoyed this one quite a bit, thoroughly not expecting to when I saw it was a quip-based theme.