Friday, March 19, 2021

Friday, March 19, 2021, Kameron Austin Collins

Let's start with some things I liked. BOUNTEOUS (Liberal) is a word that gives and gives, and CHINTZY (Gaudy and cheap) is certainly not just a throwaway entry. I don't love the modern term MEGALOPOLIS (Heavily populated urban complex), but it's funny to think that the original city of MEGALOPOLIS that was founded in Greece in the 4th century B.C.E. now has less than 6,000 inhabitants - far less than it did back then! 


COCHLEAS (Parts of ears from the Latin for "snail") brought me back to high school bio, and SODAASH reminded me of the old "chemistry sets" I used to play with in the cellar when I was little. It's a wonder I'm still alive.

There's a bit of a French vibe today with CLOISTER (Shut up) (not actually French, I know, but it comes through Old French), MISENSCENE (Staging and design, to a dramaturge) (actually French), STLOUIS (named for the only French king to have been canonized - in a good way), LEEK (What the French call "poor man's asparagus") (never heard that), "Victor in France, once" (HUGO), Switzerland's LAC LĂ©man (that's Lake Geneva to you and me), NINON (Sheer fabric) (never heard of it, but it comes from French, apparently), and ADIEU ("Fare thee well!"). 

So that's all good. What I did not like was WINSOMER. You find me an example of that word in print before it appeared in this puzzle, or proof of anyone saying that word, ever, in history, and I'll be SETATEASE. Until then, I hate it. I know it's technically possible to form the word - one of my brothers likes to argue that "funner" is a perfectly acceptable word, but I argue otherwise. I liked a lot of this puzzle, but that SADDENED me.

But let's end on a happier note. Favorite clue: "Something you can count on?" (BASETEN). Ha!

- Horace


  1. Well, one can count in any base, BASETEN included. Well, maybe not the general public, and we speakers of the Queen's English (kind-of) don't have names for numbers in other bases, so we'd have to write them out instead. I liked that we opened up with BIGMAC, and, as it happens, Sue and I are about to enjoy our annual St. Patrick's Day tradition of Big Facs, fries and Shamrock Shakes (all homemade, of course, save for the fac patties, which are Boca, the cheese, which is Cabot Extra Sharp, the buns, which Sue bought at the Whole Foods and the pickles, which are Vlasic). I never heard the word MISEENSCENE before today, and am highly unlikely to use it in casual conversation. And were it not for ULTRAVIOLET and ADD in the SW, I'd have had some big trouble down there. But as it is, those led me to BURQA, which gave away the rest (the ROE clue was excellent). And what a way to go out, with DECADE (64A Score at the half?); almost didn't need the question mark there. Finally, regarding SODAASH and chemistry sets in youth, it was very difficult to do anything truly dangerous with those kits. I had the Skilcraft advanced version, and other than the alcohol lamp there wasn't much that was truly hazardous in there. I mean, I'm sure that some of the items were poisonous when ingested, but nothing was explosive, unfortunately. Sad. 25:49

  2. TIN PAN ALLEY is my favorite entry (probably because I dropped it in right away, making me feel euphoric...prematurely, I must say, because I hit the wall right after that. Finally I got MISE EN SCENE which picked me back up again. For a while. I did finish it and appreciated the constructor's product.