Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Wednesday, January 15, 2020, Mary Lou Guizzo


On Weird and Wacky Wednesday, you never know what you’re going to get, much like with a box of chocolates. Today, it’s idioms that have arisen out of boxing, and impressively, all five answers are 15-letters long. So, in a longstanding tradition here at HAFDTNYTCFCA (if you wonder what that means, you can look in Horace’s glossary post), I’m going to rank all five answers in the horribly subjective and biased way that is my opinion.

5. 56A: Hold back (PULLONESPUNCHES) - I’m not a fan of the usage of “one’s” in these 15-letter answers. I understand that “your” would make for more difficult fill, but still.
4. 22A: One engaged in friendly contention (SPARRINGPARTNER) - The clue is on the awkward side.
3. 17A: Engaged in foul play (HITBELOWTHEBELT) - just because it makes me wince.
2. 49A: Cry “Uncle!” (THROWINTHETOWEL) - very good, but just below
1. 36A: “Oh, now they’re really going to fight!” (THEGLOVESAREOFF). 

And if you have a different opinion, well, bring it on! I’ll meet you in the ring! The metaphorical ring, of course. I’m not actually going to engage in fisticuffs. I probably don’t even know who you are, mostly. Although I’d certainly like to get to know you, my faceless readers. Perhaps over a drink at the ACPT?

But I digress.
The Milkmaid HANGS in the Rijksmuseum. I’ll have to remember to ask Horace and Frannie if they’ve seen it in person 
The rest of the puzzle is marred somewhat by a reliance on proper names. I count nine of them, including brands and place names. HAAS and ANKE are the toughest of the gets. Guess I need to know my tennis and golf better. I did like the opera subset with ERITU (often clued without the full aria title - I just found out it’s from the opera Un Ballo in Maschera by Verdi) and ENTR

TWOHIT feels a little ad hoc. I don’t imagine that we’re likely to slide into the territory of “three hit” or “four hit,” but it’s not an accomplishment that has merited its own phrase before this. Otherwise the puzzle was perfectly cromulent.

- Colum


  1. 13:06
    Obviously, this was slightly more difficult for me than it was for Colum, based on a cursory time comparison. I tried aMBER at 20A and EReTU at 32A, both before checking the crosses, which corrected them before the bell. Interesting theme. I, too, do not enjoy seeing what I consider to be obscure tennis or golf players in the grids, especially on a Wednesday, even if they're referred to as "great" in the clue. ENUF already. And I don't get a sufficient number of massages to be familiar with the term ROLF, but that is something that is fair play, as is an OLLIE, which I've heard but needed a few crosses to get. Not a whole lot about which to say UGH over other than what Colum mentions. I'll just say it took me a little while, longer than it should have, to parse NOTV (24D Timeout alternative); it's been a long time since I've had to discipline a child, and gladly it's highly unlikely to ever happen again as grandchildren require no discipline.

  2. 10:15 (FWOE)

    Well, I dropped in IDEO and thought that EReTU was perfectly cromulent, and I never did find the mistake - I had to go to xwordinfo to compare notes. So maybe it's a DNF, I don't know...

    We have, in fact, seen The Milkmaid. The Rijksmuseum is a nice place.