Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Wednesday, December 19, 2018, Seth A. Abel


A very clever theme today using an apt ANAGRAM to clue four answers. For example, "A trails nut" aptly describes a NATURALIST, "Bag manager" is a funny, but strangely appropriate thing to call a GARBAGEMAN, and "Hint: hotel" is cute for THEHILTON. The only one that didn't totally work for me was SYCOPHANT, because while "Acts phony" sort of describes what a SYCOPHANT does, it doesn't exactly describe one. You know what I mean? It would have been better if "acts phony" were an anagram of "is a sycophant," but, of course, that's being very picky, because to have found three that are so good and this one that works if you would only just let it, is pretty amazing.


So the theme is cool, but what I really enjoyed about this puzzle was the cluing! If I get a single clue like "34D: They measure miles in meters" (CABS) in a puzzle, it can make up for a lot of OENO and TERR-type stuff, but today we also got "53D: One leaving in the spring?" (TREE), "55D: Average guy?" (NORM), "1D: Ones always tossing things back?" (SOTS), "18A: Ahab's inspiration?" (SEAAIR), and "25A: Beehive contents" (HAIR), each of which got a chuckle as it eventually came clear. That's a lot of good material. Then there's other interesting entries like SPREADEM, GOGOBAR, ANKLETS, TAN (19A: Give a whuppin'), and ANTSY.

In my opinion, that is plenty to earn this a hearty thumbs up.

- Horace

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