Sunday, December 1, 2019

Sunday, December 1, 2019, Patrick Merrell


In this season of gratitude and celebration, I'd like to send my thanks to my two esteemed blogging colleagues. I personally enjoy how our blog has three different perspectives and styles of reviewing. I hope it makes it more interesting for you, our readers, as well! Also, I appreciate the opportunity to not have to think about reviewing the other two-thirds of the time.

Today's theme, starting the last month of 2019, is a set of names and other references which are misleading if taken literally. Thus, RHODEISLAND is certainly not one, although it certainly has some as part of its structure.

Similarly, the ENGLISHHORN does not originate in the British Isles. In fact, the name comes from the fact that the instrument resembled the instruments played by angels in paintings from the Middle Ages, thus "engellisches Horn," and you can see the rest. I personally stand corrected here: I always thought the name was a miscomprehension of "cor anglé," or "bent horn," into "cor Anglais," or English horn. Thanks, Wikipedia!

The clue and answer I found the most amusing was 85D: They're lousy places to sleep (RESTROOMS). Indeed.

I note an unfortunate RATIO of unappealing to appealing fill today. As examples, I cite APLEA, ASON, ASLAP, all three peculiar partials. In addition, anytime you need SSTARS and IBEAM in your grid, it's not the greatest of days.

That being said, there's also a nice amount of lively cluing going on. Some I enjoyed included:

19A: Apt move when dancing the salsa? (DIP) Apt!
124A: Make litter-proof? (NEUTER) Ouch!
6D: Unidentified person in a suit (ROE) - lawsuit, that is.
43D: Salt's hip-hop counterpart (PEPA) - because I can still hear Patrick Stewart in my mind, introducing them on SNL two and a half decades ago.
82D: A rancher might pull one over a calf (BOOT). I'm still chuckling over that one!

- Colum


  1. 23:38
    I got the trick right away, so this went a little faster than normal for a Sunday for me. I'd often heard that the ENGLISHHORN was so named because it is neither English nor a horn. The Wikipedia definition is probably more accurate. Nothing too troublesome that threatened to send me into a TAILSPIN in today's grid. Nice clue for BAROQUE, but I have to agree with Colum on SSTARS; even I, an astronomy enthusiast, need the cross for the first letter of this type of clue. And sadly, INSPITEOF the grossness, I've known people that have slept in RESTROOMS; not their proudest moments.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed relaxing and fun. And I'm ashamed to say that, even though I live a half an hour away from RHODE ISLAND, I never thought about the fact that the state, in fact, isn't! :-)