Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Wednesday, November 28, 2018, David J. Kahn


I love France, but I did not love this puzzle. Its theme of FRENCHREVOLUTION - the "Historical event suggested by each of the six groups of circled letters," was just ok. The circles are symmetrical, which is nice, and I'm sure that to have 28 triple-checked squares and a 16-letter revealer must have really handcuffed the constructor (I sure hope it did!), but I'm not sure that the final result was worth it.

The living room in the house I grew up in had French doors, but I had to look them up just now to realize that. And French cuffs are probably equally unfamiliar to most people. The best of the circles is obviously French pastry.

We have tried to reduce our criticism of weak fill here at the blog, but today I can't help myself. I'll keep it to a simple list:

MIFF - Not normally seen in the present tense.
APSES, ESTERS - plurals of crosswordeses
BADACTOR, KICKUPAROW, INAPT, FEDIN - uncommon, odd expressions
OLAF - minor character who appeared on and off between 1989 and 1999.
OCTA, AREEL, OLE, RUBIK, MIR, ESTEE, EEO, HOC, OSA, ERTE, FARO, OOP, AGORA - Tired, old, crosswordese.
ISERE, OSSO, TULLE, BENNY, ALMA, ICC, DRT - Specialized or obscure knowledge most commonly found in crosswords.
RON Darling - last played in 1995, but he was a Met, and he is still in broadcasting, so I guess it's fair for New York sports fans.

Some of that would be fine. Not all of that.

But I'll end with some entries that I liked:

HAWKED - 35A: Peddled - Nice words, both.
USERID - 40A: Surfing moniker - An unexpected and fresh answer!
ART - 9D: "What you can get away with, according to Andy Warhol - So true.
DEANS - 13D: Emory board feature? - Emory University, I presume. Kind of a cute, if nearly impossible clue.
WHIRL - 30D: Attempt, informally

Here's to looking forward to BETTERDAYS.

- Horace

1 comment:

  1. Well, I was looking for a great puzzle by Mr Kahn...and found this one much as Horace did - strangely unsatisfying. It just didn't seem worth all the trouble with the fill for those little revolutions.
    On a side note, I am beginning to wonder more and more how much of my dissatisfaction is due to Mr Shortz' clues and if the original constuctor's clue would make a difference. In this case, make things more fun, more snazzy, more difficult, and/or more getable?
    And, FWIW, unlike Horace, I liked "MIFF" in the present tense. Never used that way, but it tickles my inner etymologist.