Sunday, 9/26/10

Reagle 8:17
NYT 8:03
BG 15:11 (Sam)
LAT 7:42
CS – 20ish before the SW (Evad)/7:20 (Amy with one error)
WaPo 6:15 (sort of)

Pamela Amick Klawitter’s New York Times crossword, “Location, Location, Location”

Region capture 1The theme here is phrases that include a location component and a noun component, and some version of the noun piece is found elsewhere in the grid as suggested by the theme entry. Here are the theme answers:

  • 22a. DRESSING ON THE SIDE is one of my favorite salad specifications. Really, a tablespoon of dressing is plenty for me. The DRESSING located ON THE SIDE  is MAYO within 91d. But when someone asks for “dressing on the side,” generally they’re referring to a mixed salad dressing, not mayonnaise.
  • 34a. SQUARE MILE is echoed in the four-square clockwise MILE in the northeast corner of the grid. Except that the phrase “square mile” really doesn’t use “square” as a location.
  • 57a. ROOM AT THE TOP is a colorful phrase. The DEN in 1a is a room found at the top of the grid.
  • 75a. SLANTED LINES isn’t quite “in the language,” is it? The word LINES appears on the diagonal ending at square 65.
  • 97a. I’ve never heard the term BOTTOM FISH. Bottom feeders, yes. BOTTOM FISH is in the dictionary, though—defined as “bottom feeder.” The fish at the bottom is the EEL inside 123a. It’d be cooler if the fish were something like MACKEREL rather than the super-common-in-crosswords EEL.
  • 115a. THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE doesn’t sound right to me. A [Go-between] is called a middleman. The middle entry in the grid is Hank AARON, a man.
  • 15d. [Place for a date, frequently] is a CORNERSTONE. I was thinking of a romantic date and wondering who the hell takes their sweetheart to the CORNER STORE for a date. The word STONE spans the southeast corner of the grid.
  • 67d. MENTAL BLOCK, like the square MILE, puts the word MENTAL in a rectangular block at the top of the grid, this time counterclockwise. “Block” is not a location, and there’s no rationale for MILE and MENTAL’s blocks/squares to appear where they do.

The theme feels wildly uneven to me. Examples of a ROOM, DRESSING, FISH, and MAN are used (DEN, MAYO, EEL, AARON), whereas MILE, LINES, STONE, and MENTAL appear as themselves in their allotted circled squares. Why isn’t the CORNERSTONE represented by, say, TOPAZ? Why are the SQUARE/BLOCK ones there when they’re not location-specific?

The fill didn’t please me any more than the theme, sadly. MASTO– as [Breast: Prefix], as in mastectomy? Suffixes –ISH and –ESCE. Partials ME NO and BE NO, among others (AND I’M, IN HER, A DARN, I ERE, IN ON). OLEOS in the plural. Repeaters and crosswordese like ERAT, EKED, ATRI, SERIN, ERN, EEN, ASTA, ERST, EGER, ERSE, OMOO. A dangling OTHER SHOE. A TEA TASTER, with a clue that’s designed to tease ([Worker who may create a stir?]) but doesn’t have a cool payoff. A Y-SHAPE, N-STAR, and N-TEST. OKE, clued as [Fine and dandy, in old slang]—really?

Okay, I like SIM CITY a lot, with the excellent clue [Hit computer game with the original working title Micropolis]. Didn’t know that little bit of trivia.

But overall, this puzzle left me unmoved, wishing for a theme that cohered better and for fill that sparkled. Is that about how you felt about the puzzle, or do you think I’ve been much too hard on it?

Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon’s Boston Globe Crossword, “Wacky Readings”—Sam Donaldson’s review

Wacky WordiesAnyone else here cut his or her puzzle chops on Games Magazine?  One of my favorite recurring puzzles in Games was “Wacky Wordies,” graphical representations of common words and phrases. (Thanks to Google Images, I found an example—complete with doodles!—that’s pasted to the right.)  With its “one-and-a-half star” rating, Wacky Wordies was one of the few regular features I could solve as an 11-year-old.  Today’s puzzle offers ten more Wacky Wordies for our solving pleasure:

  • [Tnempiuqe?] is “equipment” spelled backward, and “equipment” is synonymous with “gear.” So the clue is a representation of REVERSE GEAR.
  • [Chickchick?] is two consecutive birds.  What word or phrase evokes such an image? DOUBLE BIRDIE, anyone?  (More commonly known as an “eagle,” a double birdie is a golf term for shooting two strokes under par, like making a three on a par-five hole.)  I play golf maybe five or six times a year, and I started when I was 15.  That comes to about 150 rounds of golf, which, at 18 holes a pop, means I’ve played roughly 2,700 holes.  In all that time, I’ve made one birdie and no eagles.  That may seem discouraging, but I look at the bright side.  I almost always get my money’s worth—I usually get to hit twice as many shots as my playing partners.
  • [PROFIT?] is a gain shouting at me in all caps. Shh! It’s Sunday morning—please use your indoor voice!  Our loud clue is representing a CAPITAL GAIN.  As a recovering tax lawyer, I welcome any and all tax entries in my crosswords. You could make a whole Wacky Wordies puzzle out of tax terms: Picture the word “tax” in six-point font and decked out in Gothic chic clothing—it’s the “alternative minimum tax!”  After further consideration, maybe that’s a puzzle just for tax geeks like Jeffrey and me.
  • I’m guessing the print version of the puzzle will have [“Current events”?] in italics instead of quotation marks, because the clue is getting at SLANTED NEWS. “Slanted news” feels a bit arbitrary to me (is that because I’m biased?).
  • Either of [Earth, or hater?] would be a BROKEN HEART, as each is an anagram (or “breaking”) of “heart.”  A different variation on “broken heart” was the theme for a NYT crossword from February 2009.
  • [Circl?] is a “circle” without the “e” on the end, meaning it is an ENDLESS LOOP.
  • Here’s another clue that gets lost in translation from the print version to Across Lite: [Aches?] clues GROWING PAINS. I’m guessing each letter of “Aches” in the print version gets progressively larger. Without the visual element, this is certainly a tougher nut to crack.
  • [Ji/ffy?] is a fun representation of a SPLIT SECOND.
  • [Allerina?] is clearly a HEADLESS BALLERINA. Oops, that doesn’t fit. Instead, it’s a TOPLESS DANCER.  I normally don’t care much for topless dancers in my crosswords (too distracting), but this was my favorite theme entry.
  • [Mother, pa?] is a little tricky because of the meaningless comma.  Take out the punctuation and you have a two-word anagram for “metaphor,” thus leading to MIXED METAPHOR. This probably wasn’t intended, but I like how “mother, pa” is in a loose way a mixed metaphor of “ma and pa” and “mother and father.” Okay, I’m reaching here.

BG 09262010Save for the aquatic fill near the grid’s equator (CETACEANS and the ominous DORSAL FIN) and the cry of “LET ME GO,” there wasn’t much sparkle beyond the theme entries.  I did like the intersection of the Hawaiian islands OAHU and MAUI.  The clues I appreciated most were [Hill of a Hill hearing] for ANITA (you remember Anita Hill from the Senate confirmation proceedings of Justice Clarence Thomas’s Supreme Court appointment, right?), [Red state?] for DEBT, [Quiet cards] for MIMES, and [Union member] for STATE (I wanted a synonym for laborer).

The first step in conquering ignorance is to admit you have a problem. The second step is to expose your ignorance, learn from it, and make fun of yourself, preferably online so that everyone in the world can laugh at you. That’s the point behind our weekly feature, Brushes with Lame. Here’s what gave me fits this week:

  • sakis-rouvas1[South American monkeys] are SAKIS.  Thinking I would add a picture of some cute monkeys to this post, I did a Google Images search for “sakis.” All I got was about 4,000 pictures of the guy pictured at right.  According to Wikipedia, he’s “Anastasios ‘Sakis’ Rouvas II…a Greek musician, television and film artist, businessman, and former pole vaulter who is one of the most commercially successful entertainers of all time in Greece and Cyprus.”  When you’re a pole vaulter, the sky’s the limit.
  • I know I should know that CATO is the [Roman called “the Censor”].  To my credit, I knew it started with “C” and ended with “O.”  Cato was not just a censor.  He was also quite the bartender—his Cato Tonic was considered a stiff drink.
  • A [Leg warmer] is a LAP ROBE. In some parts of the country, it’s called a “blanket.” On TV, it’s a “Snuggie.”
  • I thought I knew a little about music, but [Diatonic scheme] was an intimidating clue for a simple word: MODE.
  • Pauline KAEL is the noted film critic and [“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” author]. The book contains a collection of her reviews.  It was written in Walla Walla.  Hee hee.
  • Never heard of the [On-screen Samantha], one Samantha EGGAR, even though she’s an Oscar nominee. That’s particularly shameful because we Sams usually stick together.  I’m sure, for example, that all the Tobins out there know TOBIN as the answer to [“Saw” actor Bell]. (By the way, this may be the only time you’ll see Saw and Oscar in the same paragraph.)

Yes, there were other items I didn’t know (I’m looking at you, NOLA), but school starts tomorrow and I have learned the hard way that lectures don’t write themselves.

Merl Reagle’s syndicated/Philadelphia Inquirer crossword, “Totally Q-less”

Region capture 2If you knock out the /k/ sound of a typical Q, you still have a /w/ sound sitting there. And so it is that Merl’s Q-less puzzle takes phrases with Qs and gives them /w/ sounds instead (changing the spelling as needed). The results are good:

  • 23a. [Publicity photo from the film “Tombstone”?] is WYATT ON THE SET (“quiet”).
  • 31a. A [Basket?] is a WICKER PICKER-UPPER (“quicker,” from the paper towel commercial).
  • 50a. [With 82 Across, one way to describe a home run derby?] is HERE A WHACK, THERE A WHACK, / EVERYWHERE A WHACK WHACK (“quack, quack, quack quack”).
  • 65a. [Warning on a Tim the Tool Man drill?] is SOME ASSEMBLY REWIRED (“required”). Tim the Tool Man was Tim Allen’s character on Home Improvement. He was continually rewiring things for “More power! [grunt grunt grunt].”
  • 97a. [Reacting to your first jog in 10 years?] clues FEELING A LITTLE WHEEZY (“queasy”).
  • 112a. [What they called Shakespeare after that really bad haircut?] is PORCUPINE WILL.

There is nothing wrong with a puzzle that goes a little lighter on theme content. You know why? Because what surrounds the theme gets more room to breathe.

Eight more clues:

  • 1a. [King’s place] isn’t the THRONE, it’s the CASTLE. Before I got to the CASTLE, I also asked myself if Stephen King lived in BANGOR.
  • 22a. A [Roustabout, e.g.] is a LABORER. Isn’t “roustabout” a great word?
  • 41a. NAHA is an [Okinawan port] and though I’ve seen it in crosswords before, I typically forget what the second consonant is.
  • 1d. [Gag answer to “Why are birds so noisy”?] is CAWS, which sounds like ’cause.
  • 29d. [They schuss to be happy] clues SKIERS. Weird clue, isn’t it?
  • 33d. WETA is the [D.C. PBS station that produces Jim Lehrer’s “NewsHour”]. It’s not ringing a bell.
  • 55d. I have never heard of [“Generation of Vipers” author Philip] WYLIE. My go-to WYLIE in crosswords is Elinor. I don’t know what she’s done either, but at least I recognize the name.
  • 67d. EVORA is a [City in central Portugal] that I know (faintly) only from crosswords. Frankly, NAHA is more familiar to me.

Updated Sunday morning:

Bob Klahn’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Sunday Challenge”—Evad’s review

This one was going pretty smoothly for me before I hit the SW, where a dearth of knowledge about movies, art and crime fiction all conspired to send me to Google for some relief. Let’s start with what came easily:

  • You don’t have to be a HARRY POTTER fan to guess that the Radcliffe in “Full Radcliffe credit” was referring to actor Daniel, not the once female-only college here in Cambridge (“Our Fair City” as the Tappet brothers like to call it).
  • Next door was the cutely-clued “Tube tuber?” for COUCH POTATO
  • I’m assuming it’s Howard Stern referred to in the “Stern urging Stern would spurn” clue for KEEP IT CLEAN; never heard that Isaac Stern used foul language while playing the violin.
  • The entry EDIT always inspires great clues, this time we have “Better clues,” which I presume the entire CS team does when reviewing submissions. “Better” here is a verb, not an adjective.
  • Was thinking of Hammond organs not ROAD ATLASes at first. These remind me of the maps Mobil gas stations used to sell (or give away?) that we would use at home planning our family road trips when I was young.
  • The “sauce” in “Tartar sauce” refers to the slang for alcohol, or in this case, VODKA. I read here that tartar sauce does get its name from the notion that Tartars were “rough,” like the sauce the French invented.
  • If you opened an 18th-century CHIPPENDALE cabinet, would you find a calendar of male dancers inside?
  • Finally, enjoyed the Klahn-esque pairing of clues: “Didn’t go fast” (ATE) and “Go fast” (RACE) as well as “Come to nothing” (DIE) and “Needing nothing” (SET).

That brings us to the SW, my Waterloo. I had MYRA HESS in place and then just the MC or “John D. MacDonald’s detective.” I actually guessed MCGEE correctly, thinking those Es would be good ending letters for the 2 plural crossing entries. (Googling to confirm, I see a Travis McGee novel was the basis for the 1962 movie Cape Fear). But I was stuck on GAUGE for “Estimate” instead of JUDGE, so the 3-letter 1991 Best Picture nominee (JFK) never came to me. It didn’t help I was thinking of fishing LURES or FLIES when seeing the names of the two KLEE paintings in 65-Across, “Fish Magic” (below) and “They’re Biting.” (Was Paul an angler when not painting?)

I guess I should’ve seen URL as “Surfing destination,” but I think of a URL as an address of a website, not the site itself. (We also say we’re going over to 152 Elm St., even though that’s an address and not the house itself, so I reluctantly concede to the appropriateness of this clue.)

Patrick Berry’s Washington Post crossword, “Post Puzzler No. 25”

Region capture 3I failed in the upper middle here. I had a single ONE-dollar  bill as a [Tray filler] at 8d, but it would be difficult to fill a money tray with just a ONE and no wad of bills, so I should’ve known better. The 7a and 15a crossings weren’t making me question ONE, and then I gave up and revealed the first two squares in 9d. You know what? I don’t like that clue for NRA. [Stock-holding gp.?] is misleading but not, I don’t think, in a good way. People grip a gun by holding the stock, but the NRA isn’t a group of people holding guns in their hands. ICE is the [Tray filler]; fair enough. But I have no use for the unit ACRE-INCH, or [Unit equivalent to 3,630 cubic feet]. And for [Bar measure], I could think only of ingots and music, not a PINT of liquor at the bar.


The whole time I was doing this puzzle, I thought it was a Peter Gordon crossword and not one by Patrick Berry. It was the names that made me think that. This is more musician names than I may have ever seen in a Berry, plus other pop culture:

  • 19a. I remembered SHARKY’S [“___ Machine” (1981 cop film)] but thought it was Sharkey’s.
  • 28a. [Project leader?] is ALAN PARSONS of the Alan Parsons Project. “I am the eye in the sky. I am the maker of rules, dealing with foo-oo-ools.”
  • 48a. LYNDA [Carter on 1970s TV] played Wonder Woman.
  • 57a. [“Lanark” author ___ Gray] clues ALASDAIR. Who? Dystopian fantasy writer, magnum opus published in 1981. So this puzzle is zeroing in pretty aggressively on the late ’70s, early ’80s.
  • 59a. [Machine destroyer Ludd, from whom the word “Luddite” is derived] does not have a famous first name. It’s NED. Did you know? I didn’t.
  • 60a. INXS is the [Band that chose a new lead singer via a 2005 reality show]. “The One Thing” was their first American hit, in 1983.
  • 61a. [Comic Boosler] is ELAYNE. Didn’t she hit the big time in the ’80s? Checking…yep, ’86.
  • 3d. [“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” singer] is B.J. THOMAS. I know him better from 1975’s “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.” The popularity of some songs from that era mystifies me. Just heard Tony Orlando and Dawn’s “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” on the ’70s station yesterday. How on earth was that a hit in the era of rock’n’roll? How did they land a variety show on TV?
  • 4d. [Richard Dysart TV series] is L.A. LAW. He played the older gray-haired senior partner, what’s-his-name. The show began in ’86.
  • 35d. [Blues singer Gertrude Pridgett’s stage name] is MA RAINEY. Hey! 1920’s-’30s music, not circa 1977. What’s she doing in here?
  • 41d. [Rock singer Gregg] ALLMAN has been in the Allman Brothers Band since ’69. In the late ’70s, he was married to Cher.

Tell us the truth, Patrick. Did you construct this puzzle back in 1986 but it was rejected because the editor wasn’t sure LALAW and ELAYNE would stand the test of time? (They did. SHARKY’S, not so much.)

Damien Peterson’s syndicated Los Angeles Times crossword, “Mal de Mer”

Region capture 4The constructor’s “mal”feasance involves inserting MER into eight phrases to do a number on them. It took me a while to grasp the theme, but the results are pretty good:

  • 23a. [Response to “What’s a six-letter answer for ‘Silent performer’?”?] is MUMMER’S THE WORD. “Mum’s the word” is your familiar phrase, and mummer is an old English word for a mime. Here’s a clip of the Mummenschanz troupe performing in the ’70s.
  • 50a. [Seaside vacation disappointment?] could be a BEACH BUMMER. Who among us has not experienced a beach bummer? It rains. It’s too cold. The jellyfish are stinging. There’s a hurricane warning. Dead fish are washing up. You get too sunburned and have to miss the next day at the beach. You have taken the sacred tiki from the cave in Hawaii and have bad beach luck. Or there’s a shark attack.
  • 60a. [Prison performer?] is a SLAMMER DANCER. You’ve all seen the video of the Filipino prisoners’ big production number of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” right?

  • 75a. [Team in an agricultural all-star game?] is THE FARMER SIDE. Ah, who doesn’t love the cartoon “The Far Side”?
  • 84a. [Station that exclusively plays rapper MC’s hits?] would be HAMMER RADIO. My car gets satellite radio and there is not, as yet, an all-MC Hammer station. Hammer pants! The most amusing fashion trend of the past year was the reimagining of baggy drop-crotch Hammer pants. This year’s version were less pantaloony and more “old man baggy jeans with diaper bunching.”
  • 118a. [Like steak cooked by an enchanting chef?] is CHARMER-BROILED. Except nobody refers to the person who cooked the food in an adjective. Mother-baked? Jerk-fried? No.
  • 32d. [Sugary complaint?] is CANDIED YAMMER. I’m not wild about this one because the candied yam wants to be pluralized.
  • 34d. [More cordial old-timer?] clues WARMER VETERAN.

Good fill, with lots of 7s in the corners. Highlights include KID ROCK and PAT RILEY (together again!), CHAOTIC SNEEZES, ARMPIT clued with [It’s exposed many times during the singing of “YMCA”], BODACIOUS, a RED SOX CAP (moderately arbitrary as phrases go, but a colorful phrase), and FAT CITY.

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18 Responses to Sunday, 9/26/10

  1. ArtLvr says:

    Very cute, as far as I’m concerned. So the MENTAL BLOCK gets lodged at the puzzle’s top center or head, where you might say “off the top of ny head” if you aren’t quite sure, etc. That’s okay by me… And I’ve often asked for MAYO on the side.

    Tricky to get all those circled extras tucked in, let alone in those positions. And note that as an extra, ADLAI’s run for Pres. sank though he was nominated twice, and you can see his initials AES sloping down through NANCI, GOFERS and FISH… Neat! My parents were extremely fond of him.

    Maybe overall Ms. Klawitter didn’t provide a huge lot of sparkle, but I liked seeing EISNER since he was a big supporter of my son-in-law’s taking over AIDA (the musical) as the director, and I also enjoyed OTHER SHOE — you never know when or where it will drop!

  2. Michael says:

    Cool theme idea, but I also felt its execution was fairly inconsistent. AARON, in my mind, is an example of man’s name. BROTHER, SON or UNCLE, otoh, would all be examples of man.

    ArtLvr, interesting take on the positioning of the MENTAL block. If I were to speculate, though, I’d say it was the discovery of NT at 22A that influenced the constructor’s decision.

  3. Don says:

    As Ayn Rand said, “Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises”. So, it you check your premises that the theme is a noun component and a location component, you could change the latter to the more general “description component”, and the theme answers would be consistent. Indeed, square “mile” is a square of circled letters, mental “block” is a block, and slanted “lines” is slanted. (Interestingly, you left slanted lines out of your “location” test – it fails, too!)

    Also, “man-in-the-middle” attack is a very common term in cryptology, and a common way for hackers to intercept network traffic. It is a “go between”, intercepting messages between parties without their knowledge.

  4. Karen says:

    On the Klahn CS, I found myself stuck at the same point as EVAD, but I wanted Fish Magic and They’re Biting to be fishing FLIES (do flies get named?) and I had FUDGE as my estimate. Good chewy puzzle nonetheless.

  5. Angela says:

    I was patting myself on the back for flying through the Sunday puzzle (on Saturday while I was laid up with a nasty head cold,) thinking this was a breakthrough for me who cannot compete with the crossword wizards who do puzzles at breakneck speed.

    Bah, Humbug! My Sunday puzzle victory was short cut by the circles. Not because I wouldn’t have eventually figured it out, but because I just found the excercise boring and, well too much trouble to go through all those circled letters to come up with some rather obscure solutions. I gave up homework when I left school.

  6. Lloyd mazer says:

    I was also put off by AARON. Would have been better if STAN MUSIAL could have been squeezed in since he was known as STAN THE MAN.

  7. Howard B says:

    Evad, your experience with Klahn’s CS was exactly mine. I had a blank area in the SW and had to view the solution; had no way to resolve it since I didn’t know the ’91 film, the FRIES clue was rather bizarre, and the Down crossings including the detective were no help today. Hey, it happens :). Did get KLEES, though. Next time, Klahn!

    That and the Times are all I have time for today, hopefully will solve the others later.

  8. Chris S says:

    Aeneas was the hero of Virgil’s Aeneid. He was mentioned in Homer’s Iliad, but it seems a long stretch to call him a Homeric hero. This adds to my general feeling of sloppiness in the puzzle. I too was disappointed.

  9. Meem says:

    Solved the NYT without trouble, but did not much care for it. Fill like “oke,” “sher,” and “iere” left me cold. Thought Merl was good fun today. Also took me too long to solve Bob Klahn’s SW. When I look at the finished grid, it shouldn’t have been that hard! Needed Google help for Patrick Berry. Too many totally unknown (to me) proper nouns.

  10. John Reid says:

    The Bob Klahn puzzle took me about 23 minutes – 15 of which were spent in the bottom left 5 by 3 group of squares. Reading the comments above, I’m glad to see that it wasn’t just me. I had GAUGE for a while too, but I’d also tried QUOTE before that. Just couldn’t come up with JFK. I actually ended up finally getting it done by guessing KLEES, and then backing up off the K (‘MLK?… no, JFK!!!) and then in a few moments it was done. Whew! Mean corner. Gotta love Klahn though!

  11. joon says:

    i’m feeling contrarian—i liked the NYT theme. maybe the title wasn’t the best, because “location” was part of it, but not all of it. but it was cool. oddly similar to the BG theme, actually. anyway.

    the SW corner of the klahn held me up for a bit, too, but URL and (for whatever reason) FRIES went right in, and DIE after a bit more thought. then it was over quickly. i probably spent less time on it than i did checking every cross of CRAP E-MYRTLE. (and don’t try to tell me that’s not how it’s parsed.)

    PB’s puzzler was indeed chock-full of old names i didn’t know. the biggest problem for me was BJ THOMAS and his crossings with SHARKYS and HUM. ACRE-INCH wasn’t obvious, but it made sense in retrospect—an acre (area) times an inch (depth) is indeed a volume, and probably a useful unit for buying, say, topsoil. i didn’t realize MA RAINEY was a real person—i know her only from the title of an august wilson play. even the long DESK BLOTTER and TAXI SERVICE seemed a little unfamiliar to me—not the individual words, but those particular combinations. does anybody else think it odd to include closely-related seven-letter french (!) words IMPASSE and PASSANT? overall, not my favorite PB, but still very fun and i loved the clue for PS AND QS.

  12. Evad says:

    I like “Just Add Water” as a possible title for today’s LAT. Is Damien any relation to Doug?

  13. Peter says:

    Does anyone else share my annoyance that the answer to 13D in today’s NYT, “Begins energetically” is “Wades in”? That hardly seems energetic. “Wades” implies caution, not energy.

  14. Vic says:

    This puzzle is a classic example of how too much theme matter ultimately has a negative impact on fill quality. In the “primary” theme, there are 100 theme letters in eight entries. That is a lot. In the “secondary” theme, there are 34 letters in eight “words.” That turns “a lot” into “You gotta be kidding me!” Will obviously thought the effort worth putting in print. I’m wondering if the objections raised might have been met if Pam had left out SQUAREMILE and BOTTOMFISH.


  15. Meem says:

    Joon: I think I had my last desk blotter in the late 1960s when I still wrote with an honest-to-goodness fountain pen! Agree wholeheartedly on Ps and Qs. Impasse and passant did not slow me down. Not sure I even thought of them as French.

  16. Doug P says:

    @Evad – I also used to wonder whether or not Damien was a distant relation of mine.

    Apparently not. :)

    Crossword Editors’ Pseudonyms

  17. John Haber says:

    Some of the same answers, such as SHER, didn’t do it for me either. I also got hung up for a while in clusters around some names, like ANSPACH (who I can’t believe I’d forgotten) and the astronaut.

    Must admit, too, that the “man” fill confused me. I was kind of hoping that Aaron was known as “the man” to Braves fans. But as already noted, I guess that nickname was taken.

  18. Jan says:

    I had the same trouble with Klahn’s SW corner. It didn’t help that I confidently put in GUESS for estimate, and END for “come to nothing” but I finally got everything right with no Googling. Of course it took me 23 hours, not minutes! But getting a tough puzzle right is so satisfying!

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