Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sunday, February 24, 2019, Erik Agard


Until I got the the revealer, I had no idea what was going on with the theme today. I had filled in SMALLTOWNSALON (21A: *Likely inexpensive place to get one's hair done) pretty quickly, and I think I had also gotten REINDEERRIDE (40A: *Tourist activity in northern Scandinavia), but the others were only partially filled in when I finally got to WHATARETHEODDS (121A: "How lucky was that?" ... or a hint to the answers to the starred clues). Then I noticed that the "odd" (first, third, etc.) letters in the first word of each theme answer spelled the second word. A cute idea. And with that understanding, I was able to quickly fill in the ones I hadn't yet gotten, and the puzzle was soon finished.


I liked the spirit of some clues today, including 18A: "Word that follows 'standard' and means something nonstandard" (DEVIATION), 50A: "It's groovy" (SCREW), 126D "Springs for a vacation?" (SPA), and 83A: "To be abroad?" (ETRE). Which reminds me - it took me far too long to get 32D: "1400" (TWOPM). The 24-hour clock is easy enough to get used to, but I'm still not comfortable with centimeters, or "dainty inches" as a Dutch friend referred to them yesterday. Hah!

ONIONS (77A: Florentine : spinach :: lyonnaise : ____) took me quite a while, because although I pretty much knew what it was, I was unwilling to make onion plural when it didn't have to be. I mean, it works, sure, because you'd never say "spinaches," but then again, I think "onion" would also work fine. Also somewhat non-standard was the "no-H" OOLALA, and I didn't love DRAGGY, but overall, it was a fine Sunday.

- Horace


  1. I love CHEWBACCA over DEVIATION to start the puzzle. Also excellent to get AWKWAFINA in the puzzle. The theme itself is okay. It seems like one of those ideas that's more exciting during the construction of the puzzle rather than during the solve.

  2. That first clue about Solo - it didn't fool me, but I had "SKYWALKDER" in there for too long! Bah!
    I, too, was confused about the theme...and needed the reveal info to finally make sense of things. It seemed to be some sort of alliteration or anagram thing - but, no!
    Good fun for a Saturday evening when it is beginning to snow - again!

  3. 29:25
    I needed this review in order to understand the theme; the revealer was almost no help. I loved CHEWBACCA. It fooled me for a short time, but once I had CHEW____ off of the crosses, it fell in. This was a little fast for my liking for a Sunday, and I've never seen SAILORMOON, but everyone - EVERYONE - loves a standard DEVIATION. As a side note, the LA Times offering for today went similarly quickly.