Sunday, February 16, 2020

Sunday, February 16, 2020, Sam Ezersky


Who doesn't love a good language theme? Niemand, that's who.

Despite the deceptive "Number Theory" title, this puzzle is all about being LOSTIN TRANSLATION, and it couldn't have come at a more appropriate time for Frannie and me, DUETOTHEFACTTHAT we have spent the last two weeks awash in a mix of FRENCH, GERMAN, and English. And did you notice that each foreign number is repeated in a "non foreign" way? I only just did as I was reviewing the puzzle, but it's kind of an interesting detail. QUINCEJELLY and QUINCE, for example, and SEIZE POWER and SEIZE. Is there a reason for it? I'm not sure.

I've never heard of a restaurant offering special DIETMENUS. Is that really a thing? And SLIMUP (Shed some pounds) - while being something that I will definitely need to do after this period of gorging on ├ęclairs, baguettes, and beurre - is not all that common an expression, I don't think.

It's funny what will get on my nerves. MAESTRI, for example, while obviously defensible, seems forced to me, but I thoroughly enjoyed SCIENCY (Like most medical journal articles). I also liked SLIPSHOD (Sloppy), HOTTAKES (Openly controversial opinions), GENYER (Millenial, informally), and the very silly OOOO (New pedometer reading). There's some nice musical trivia in LEIPZIG (Where Wagner was born and Bach died), and speaking of music, it's always nice to be reminded of the "1974 Eurovision winner that went on to international stardom" (ABBA).

Perhaps I'm missing a level of theme that explains the English repetition of the foreign numbers, or maybe Mr. Ezersky just thought it was interesting. I mean, it is interesting, but is that enough? Not sure. Anyway, Frannie takes over tomorrow, and I'll see you in a few weeks!

- Horace


  1. 38:14
    I certainly don't love a foreign language theme, and I didn't much appreciate the misdirection in the puzzle's title, with which I was initially quite excited since NUMBER THEORY was one of my favorite classes, but alas. I carefully checked my crosses when I saw that SEIZE and SEIZE were both in the grid, but they all checked out. Then I noticed that the other theme answers were repeated, albeit not so blatantly, so I relaxed. I initially tried DannYTHEHOUSEELF since I'm completely unfamiliar with the referenced DOBBYTHEHOUSEELF, but the crosses fixed it up. I mean, OPIE couldn't have been anything else, which gave me WASABIPEA and the other two crosses, ABET AND ABBA, so I guess it's fair enough. I liked the fact that ARTOO/DETOO was in there in full, as well as AKRONOH, and I enjoy MYOB. I also thought that AYEAYESIR being adjacent to ABAFT was excellent. And DOOBIE (82D Joint) is shocking. Nice, somewhat challenging Sunday offering.

  2. The revealer says LOSTIN / TRANSLATION - the idea seems to be that the hapless translator has just assumed that the foreign words are actually English, and thus utilizes them in sentences. I can't think of a way to make the whole thing work better than that, and that doesn't work all that well. I reject SCIENCY.