Thursday, February 21, 2019

Thursday, February 21, 2019, Sam Trabucco


I'm taking the DNF today because I knew neither HUGOWEAVING (33A: Player of V in "V for Vendetta) nor PENSIEVE (14D: Magical basin used to view one's memories in the Harry Potter books). If I had penser'd a little longer, maybe I could have come up with the Down entry, but I had also erroneously entered JUDyDENCH, so it just wasn't going to happen for me today. Ah well...


Kind of a "meh" theme today, at least for me. I have seen all four movies that the CHARACTERACTORs appeared in, but the only one that I actually remember being referred to by the letter is JUDIDENCH. The character of "M" has been very well established by the Bond franchise. I don't think we've ever heard what it stands for, or even if it stands for anything but itself. PATRICKSTEWART's character, on the other hand, is named Charles Xavier, or "Professor X." I don't remember him being referred to as just "X," the way "M" is. And the other two movies are too far back in my memory for me to have clear thoughts on the character names.

So maybe it's a weak theme, and maybe it's just a case of sour grapes. I don't know.

It was interesting to learn about Unalaska, Alaska, the second-largest city (population c. 4,400) in the "unorganized borough" of the "Aleutians West Census Area." It seems the "un" in the beginning is not the prefix I originally thought it was, but a variant of "Ounalashka," which means "Near the peninsula." Who knew?

Also, it's a little weird to have the fully-named character NORMARAE in the puzzle as non-theme material, isn't it? ...

Paired entries TECHBRO and DUDETTE, and RAPIDO and ITALIANO were interesting. I didn't really love the way GETSWITH (3D: Becomes involved in) was clued, and I would never use the word DRIB to mean a "tiny amount."

HATETO harsh on a puzzle this way, but I just wasn't feeling it today. Hope you found it more enjoyable.

- Horace


  1. I (for me) found the CHARACTERACTOR theme amusing - maybe not grade A, but it suited me to a T. I didn't know the name HUGOWEAVING, but I knew the rest of the group. Luckily, I have read the Harry Potter books. I FWOE'd at the 12A/6D cross because I had put TIoN in as a guess for the ending of "Unalaskan, e.g." before I had the complete answer and I never went back to check it after I filled in the rest of that section. Derp. I was vexed by "Hide-y holes?" for PORES until Horace explained the joke. Now there's a QMC that definitely deserves its question mark. ~Frannie.

  2. 26:14 FWOE
    My error was the crossing of 36A/30D - incorrect spelling of those darn boots, ugh!
    Having never seen the V movie, that one took quite a while to fill in - as did much of the puzzle. Although, I must say, Hugo Weaving did a most credible turn in those Lord of the Rings movies, to say nothing of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert! Oh wait, I'd better not go off on a tangent and try to turn my post into a movie review.
    While I didn't care so much for the 4 entries, I did love the revelation about CHARACTERs! Go figure.
    Tschuss, as they say in Hamburg - which is kinda close to that part of the world.

  3. 34:15 (FWOE)
    I entered a "p" in the DRIB/THEBEAN cross and never checked the THEBEAN part of it. I never read the Harry Potter books and only saw the first movie (I think), so didn't know PENSIEVE, but the crosses were fine. I look forward to seeing PATRICKSTEWART's new series on CBS All Access. This grid reminds me that I've not had DEWARS in quite a while.

  4. 7:00
    Second Thursday in a row that has disappointed. This is a Wednesday level theme.