Sunday, May 12, 2019

Sunday May 12, 2019, Victor Barocas


Good Morning, Readers! It's Horace, taking over again after two excellent weeks of reviews by Frannie and Colum. Thanks once more, and as ever, to my two excellent compatriots!

Today's theme features four famous measurement systems, each running diagonally in circled letters through the thing they measure. Cool! Two are observational scales (Mohs & Beaufort), one is based on seismic wave amplitude (Richter), and one, Celsius, is based on water and temperature - but on May 20 of this year, Celsius will be redefined so that its value will be determined by definition of the Boltzmann constant. (It's too complicated to get into here, so I provided a link for the curious.)

Incidentally, Mr. Celsius originally had 0 as the boiling point and 100 as the freezing point, but these values were reversed in 1743, just a year before he died. I wonder what he thought about that!

So the theme is solid. I'd put it somewhere between quartz and topaz. Everyone enjoys quantification, right? Heck, what is this blog, or any review, but quantification? It's one of life's great pleasures - and problems. As Hamlet says, "there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

So let's get right to it, shall we?


98D: Unlike most of Perry Mason's clients (GUILTY). Hah!
52A: Follow-up shot (BOOSTER). Vaccinate!
54A: Besmirch (TAR).
80A: Clubs, e.g. ... or entry requirement for some clubs (SUIT).
84A: Not fast (EAT).


65A: Q-V link (RSTU). The Richter scale really shook up this area, apparently, as we also find here ENOL, MCCOYS, TERP, and RETHREW.
95D: Preliminary exam: Abbr. (QUAL)

Finally, although it's tempting to try to craft such a thing, we're not (at least for now) instituting a HAFDTNYTCPFCA scale, we're just going to give you an overall feeling. The theme is interesting and well done, the triple-checked squares cause a little strain here and there, but it's not too bad, and overall, I give it a thumbs up.

- Horace

p.s. Frannie says "I wanted to put 'delicious' in for 'Like bourbon,' but it doesn't fit."


  1. Of course we have a scale. It runs from "I didn't like it so much" to "thumbs up." I'd agree with you on this one - there were some definite trade offs to make the theme work, but on the whole I liked the theme enough to outweigh the negatives.

  2. I'm trying to decide if the inclusion of ESS (34A: Coveted Scrabble tile) is just so over the top that it makes up for all of the plurals (SPOILERS, AVERS, DADS, BIERS, IMPARTS, EARTHQUAKES, MCCOYS, ENDS, HITS, SPAS, OCELOTS, HIFIS, POTLUCKS, and TINFOILS). I'm OK with some of those, but I find the last two particularly bad. And, yeah, RETHROW is not a thing.

  3. 24:36
    RETHROW made me groan, and that was after I entered, sadly, RSTU. And as far as plurals go, at least MCCOYS is always referred to in that way. But the theme is a pleasing one, and most of the fill was fine. Frannie's bourbon comment is apt. Nice to see ALEX in the grid.