Thursday, November 8, 2018

Thursday, November 8, 2018, Sam Ezersky


GOWESTYOUNGMAN and grow up with the country! In this case, it's four "LAD"s that travel from the eastern end of their answers to the western beginning. There must be some way that "manifest destiny" could be made to work into a joke about this theme, but I can't figure it out right now...


Anyway, it's a pretty solid set of theme answers: "power ballad," "armor clad," "taco salad," and "superbowl ad." It took me quite a while to figure this out. I expected what I thought was the obvious way to interpret the revealer first, that the answers would read entirely in reverse, but that didn't work out. Only slowly did I realize that the end pieces that ended up in front were all "lad"s. The answers look strange in the grid, but if you can get over that, it's a pretty cool idea.

Some tough gets in the fill. OILBASIN (10D: Notable feature of North Dakota and Texas) is not all that common a term, and DECOCT (13D: Boil down) was a surprise, too. I applaud the inclusion of DABBA (8D: "Yabba ____ doo!"), but I don't especially love the partial BOSSA (35D: ____ nova). Funny how some things will bother you and others won't. And I'm sure it's different for everyone.

I had TWISToff and ACTEDBad for a while, and it took me forever to think of ADIG (24D: Take ____ at (insult)). I kept wanting "swipe" or "swing," neither of which, of course, would fit. I still don't think "Take a dig at" is anything anyone would ever say, but whatever, I'm not going to take a dig at ol' Mr. Ezersky over it. :)

- Horace


  1. 8:31
    Very tickled by this theme. Well played, sir. I agree about OILBASIN, and made the same mistakes you did. DVDVIDEO is awesome in the grid.

  2. I loved the theme. And yes, I was thinking of entire answers backwards for a while, which didn't seem to be working, and only when I saw a "lad" or two at the start did I start to wonder, and it wasn't until I got LADPOWERBAL (every letter, I think) from crosses that I saw how the LAD "goes west". The other theme answers are also quite solid.

    The fill tripped me up a lot, although looking at it this might be me as much as the constructor. I thought "adle" was the right spelling, although the dictionaries say that "addle" is far, far more common. It took me a long time to get ONAIR (although once I get it, and read "live" as a noun rather than a verb, it is clever). I was tripped up by proper names VERNE, BREES, LEVIN (although none of the crosses for those are ridiculous). I was somewhat un-wowed by LAIDIN, IMIT (because "you're it" would be more often said, I think), and AIGHT (still not sure I really get what that is a pronunciation of).

    On the plus side, there's a contemporary feel from NOOB, OMG, and WAY (none of which are unfamiliar to me, and which I think are probably fair for the general public). I liked the clue for IDEAL. Oh and one of the best is EBBTIDE, both because it is nice to see the whole thing rather than just EBB, and because I liked the punny clue.

    In the neither bad nor good department, SEDGE always gives me a chuckle (given how many sedges you'll see in perfectly dry places like lawns and roadsides) but the crossword preference for the wetland sedges is such a well established thing by now that I just chuckle it and move on.