Thursday, July 12, 2018

Thursday, July 12, 2018, Joe DiPietro

50:31 FWOE

Figuring out this puzzle's trick did not come easily! I failed to see DEF[ORE]ST for the trees. Only when I had three of the four theme answers figured out and in place, did I begin to see the pattern. Trouble is, when I got to the fourth one, I stupidly focused on trying to make the same pattern work at 4D instead of at 3D where it belonged. HELLA derp. I had entered FORENSICS (Field of "CSI") very early on in the solve, before I knew there was a trick and I never looked at it again; I just kept trying to get into SHUL.

It took me some time to figure out what was meant by the revealer HANDSDOWN (Easily ... and a hint to four answers in this puzzle), even when I had it and two of the theme answers, which I first entered as rebi. Two examples were not enough to make me notice that LONG  (EVAL[ONG]ORIA) and SURE (TREAS[URE]MAP) can both be paired with the word HAND and that they went DOWN the grid while the rest of the answer kept going across. Nice trick. I needed a third theme answer to see the pattern, but I was in a real pickle in the 29A/D-al area because I didn't know either "Pro wrestling star John" (CENA) or "'Wisest and justest of all the centaurs'" in Greek myth (CHIRON). I did eventually remember SEAHAG (One of Popeye's foes), which lead me to AVE (where I had originally entered rte), which helped me finally see ENVI[ROn]S. Phew! My only TEENY quibble is that it's too bad the across answers couldn't still be words on their own.

I had a few other trouble spots. I tried spelling tada with an "h" (tadah) to get it to fit at 23D ("VoilĂ ") where THERE belongs. I'm also still not sure in/on which kind of court you find an ESTOP. Law, basketball, other? And are ATODDS and ATLAW synonyms? :)

I liked SPANG for "Smack-dab". I haven't heard that in years. We usually said spang on. ELCHEAPOS is a nice entry. I liked FORENSICS at first, but my feelings changed a bit on that one after the above-releated fiasco. CENSURE is also a great word, although less good as an actual experience. I also liked KEYIN (Record as data), although, personally, I prefer extracting data to keying it in whenever possible, but sometimes one has no choice. Also, this sure is the week for self-referential clues! I feel like I've got their number now, though four days in. I entered ESS (Self starter?) at 40A like a champ. "Capital of Colombia" (PESO) didn't fool me today, either. "Go downhill in a hurry?" for (SKI) was also cute.
DEWAR Flask photo: LepoRello (Wikipedia)
The very simple clue "Beep" had me confounded for a while, maybe because I've never taken a PAGE. And what's with this sea of AZOV? It sounds like a place out of The Phantom Tollbooth, except I know it isn't. :)

And last, but not least, yesterday's final down answer was WET (Dampen) and today's was DRY (Having less vermouth than the norm). Fun! 



  1. 11:05 (FWOE)
    Holy cow. That's a crazy theme. I love the HANDSDOWN revealer. I'm just not as convinced by including FORENSICS as part of it, because in the other three cases the type of hand ends where the answer ends (like the "long" portion of GOALONG). I made my error at the crossing of AZOV and IGOTANAME, because I tried IGeTANAME. AZeV seemed reasonable. But when I got the popup saying I had a square wrong, I figured it out. Oh well.

  2. 28:50 (FWOE)
    My fwoe came at IRAnI and AnI. I should have known AnI was wrong, but in my defense, it borders both countries. And I still don't know what AQI is... ok. looked it up now. Air Quality Index. Just the second time it's appeared since we started this blog.

    CHIRON, AZOV, SPANG, DEWAR - all previously unknown to me. I was surprisingly surprised by ANISEED not being "anise seed," but I guess it's another name for the entire plant. And PAGE took me forever! That P and A of SPANG were my last squares. The former came from running the alphabet in my head, and the latter was an educated guess.

    ESTOP is a legal term, Frances, or were you joking? :)

  3. 44:03
    The final theme answer I filled in was EVAL[ONG]ORIA; I just couldn't see it. I had lots of trouble with the tricky clues, which ground me to a halt a few times. However, I persevered. One problem was that I entered oNO where ENO belongs in the NW at first, before getting a few crosses for TABLES. A fan of ENO's ROCK, I was a bit upset about that. I don't mind FORENSICS being part of the theme. And even though I prefer a proper rebus, this was a fun and challenging puzzle, so thumbs up. I think I'll go HASASIP in the hot tub now.