Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sunday, December 16, 2018, Sam Ezersky


An amusing theme today. An assortment of "top gear" - headware - drop from five across answers and must be picked back up to make sense. As in WHA/TAM/I (65A: Riddle-ending query) and SNA/KEPI/T (83A: Dangerous environment). Kepi, tam, toque, beret, and fez are well-known to most experienced crossword solvers, but I think that giving a little clue with the shaded squares and the revealer ATTHEDROPOFAHAT was probably a good idea.

As usual in such a big puzzle, one can find both good and bad. On the bright side, I very much enjoyed 91D: Like TV but not radio? (INCAPS), and I liked EIGHTHNOTE (15D: It's played for half a beat in 4/4 time). Colum talked about unusual consonant combinations yesterday, and GHTHN definitely qualifies for that category. It's always nice to be reminded of SPARTA (23A: Ancient capital of Laconia), and 37A: Scare quote? (BOO) was amusing.

On the other side, I call out the odd VEALER (3D: Calf raised for its meat), ROOMER (70A: Certain tenant), IRENIC (17D: Peaceful), and NATANT (114A: Swimming). SWEETIE (59D: Babe) is kind of gross, ODOROUS, STOMA, ABAFT, LOCI, and ENCE are all super-crosswordy.

And does ADDTOQUEUE really mean "Play next?" I don't think I have that on Pandora, and what if you'd already done it a number of times? Wouldn't it then mean "play after all the others that I've put on the queue?" And yes, I realize I may be out of my depth here.

Well, Dear Reader, I've got a cold again, and I'm a little DIM, so I'm going to end this rather abruptly and look forward to tomorrow. Hope you are all healthy and enjoying the winter holiday season.

- Horace

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