Sunday, January 4, 2015

NYT 10:14 (Amy) 
Reagle 8:13 (Amy) 
LAT 7:54 (Amy) 
Hex/Hook untimed (pannonica) 
WaPo 24:58 (Sam) 
CS 21:17 (Ade) 
Blindauer 20:26 (Matt) 

Merl Reagle’s syndicated Sunday crossword, “Dreaming of Hawaii”

Merl Reagle crossword solution, 1 3 15 "Dreaming of Hawaii"

Merl Reagle crossword solution, 1 4 15 “Dreaming of Hawaii”

Slush on the ground, snow on the way, subzero temps coming in this week. It’s the perfect time for a Hawaii pun theme:

  • 23a. [Good name for a Hawaiian coffee shop?], THE KONA DRUGSTORE. The corner drugstore.
  • 41a. [Tourist’s impression of Hawaii?], EVERYWHERE A MUUMUU. “Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo, Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.”
  • 59a. [Hawaiian tourist’s exclamation?], YIPPIE OAHU. I have no idea what the basis for this pun is.
  • 68a. [Hawaiian souvenir made with corn chips?], FRITO LEI. Frito-Lay.
  • 78a. [One in search of Hawaiian food?], POI SCOUT. Boy Scout.
  • 87a. [Hot coal at a Hawaiian cookout? (with apologies to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)], LUAU CINDER. Lew Alcindor. Ha!
  • 104a. [Puts on grass skirts and Hawaiian shirts?], SHIFTS TO ALOHA GEAR. “Shift into a lower gear” feels more right to me than “shifts to a lower gear.”
  • 124a. [Title of an exposé about Hawaiian dancers?], HOT LIPS, HULA HANDS. Hot Lips Houlihan.

Eight theme entries is not a lot for Merl, though 102 theme squares feels like a solid amount. It’s not a huge theme, though, so I’m not sure there’s so much fill that bugged me. Crosswordese (ALEE crossing LEA, the OUSE—and OPAH, which was actually my first answer in the grid). Names like RENI Santoni and plural TERESAS, OLATHE and OTERI. Partials like A TASTE, HITS A, AS DEEP AS, NE PLUS. Somehow I kept encountering answers and intersections that triggered the Scowl-o-Meter.

Five things:

  • 52d. [Actor Hayakawa of “River Kwai” fame], SESSUE. Hmph! Needed the crossings for every single letter.
  • 9a. [Hebrew month (not Dracula’s mother)], SHEBAT. I do not know the non-crosswordese Hebrew months, I confess.
  • 53a. [Six-legged bands], TRIOS. I wonder if there are any musical trios in which a member has undergone a lower-extremity amputation.
  • 100a. [Beach shelter], RAMADA. I tried CABANA first, but “Remember the Alabo!” didn’t fly.
  • 121d. [Quantrill’s forte], RAID. Needed the crossings for all four letters here. Googling … Quantrill was a guerrilla fighting for the Confederacy, leading his gang in raids and massacres. Gross.

3.25 stars from me. I liked most of the puns, but not all of them, and the fill didn’t engage me.

Finn Vigeland’s New York Times crossword, “The Descent of Man”

NY Times crossword solution, 1 4 15 "THe Descent of Man"

NY Times crossword solution, 1 4 15 “The Descent of Man”

“The Descent of Man” is presented visually by having the MAN at the end of each theme answer descending beneath the four-from-last letter:

  • 30a. [“Nobody’s infallible, not even me”], I’M ONLY HU— crossing the MAN in 15d. [“Kinderszenen” composer], SCHUMANN.
  • 32a. [Literary genre of “David Copperfield” or “Ender’s Game”], BILDUNGSRO— crossing 7d. [Long period of stability ending circa A.D. 180], PAX ROMANA. I tried an {OMAN} rebus first, since those letters were in both, but it made zero sense with the puzzle’s title.
  • 71a. [Title song question in Disney’s “Frozen”], DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A SNOW— / 70d. [“Gimme a break!”], “AW, MAN!” Pleased to say I had to work through the crossings for the song title.
  • 110a. [Academy Award winner who has played both a U.S. president and God], MORGAN FREE— / 106d. [1960s-’80s Pontiac], LEMANS.
  • 112a. [Cover subject on Ms. magazine’s debut issue, 1972], WONDER WO— / 95d. [Place to kick your feet up], OTTOMAN. Nice to get a woman into the MAN theme.

Five theme pairs in which only one member of each pair wasn’t straightforward, not a huge amount of theme answers to puzzle out. And yet! The puzzle was hard. Good fill overall, lots of fresher stuff.

Ten things:

  • 91d. [Container in a 34-Down], ALE GLASS. Is that a specific piece of barware? (TENDS BAR, PBR, and BREWPUB flesh out the beer minitheme.)
  • 11a. [Aloof], OFFISH. Never seen this without the stand–.
  • 2d. [Inability to recall the names of everyday objects], ANOMIA. Uncommon word. Aphasia is a more familiar and broader word.
  • 25a. [Daily newspaper feature, informally], XWORD. Totally familiar to me, but I’m not sure if people who don’t read and write online about crosswords use the shorthand.
  • 21d. [Drug also known as Ecstasy], MDMA. Those are just two of its many names.
  • 42d. [Ones holding hands?], WRISTS. They’re not exactly “holding” them.
  • 105d. [New Jersey town next to Fort Lee], LEONIA. Guessing on the final letter, as the crossing in 129a. [Spanish article] could be LAS or LOS. Under 9,000 people, no reason for us to know the town.
  • 89a. [Stuffed Jewish dish], KISHKA. The Polish spelling is kiszka. Do you like sausage made with meat (or offal), grain, and pig’s blood? That would not be the Jewish food item. The Polish one has its own song, “Who Stole the Kiszka?” I will never forget the ad copy in the Polana Foods catalog: “Who stole the kiszka? Nobody stole our kiszka, we have plenty of it!” It’s the comma splice that kills me.
  • 76a. [Abalone], SEA EAR. What the …?? That’s news to me.
  • 55d. [Website billed as “the front page of the Internet”], REDDIT. It tends to be a little dude-centric for my taste, and the site’s owners refuse to “censor,” meaning that creepy men can share creepy pictures and women’s private information and whatnot. On rare occasions, those Redditors’ identities are ferreted out and they can get real-world consequences for anonymous online hate. The “Ask Me Anything” features are pretty nifty, though.

4.25 stars from me.

Frank Longo’s Washington Post crossword, “The Post Puzzler No. 248”–Sam Donaldson’s review

The Post Puzzler No. 248 (solution)

The Post Puzzler No. 248 (solution)

The Post Puzzler continues to walk the Green Mile, but it looks to be going out in style. This week’s offering, the first for 2015 and the 248th overall, is a 68/28 freestyle from the maestro, Frank Longo. Though my sluggish solving time might suggest otherwise, it was great fun to solve.

I broke in with GRACIAS, the [“De nada” lead-in, often]. That felt right, as I’ve just spent the past several days in West Texas. The trip gave me a chance to brush up on my decaying Spanish skills. For some reason, they don’t get as much exercise in Atlanta.

The only crossings I could get immediately were CEDE and SUPRA (thank you, academia). The rest of that section took much longer, largely because I am unfamiliar with ICED T, the [Coors Light product], because I didn’t know that PERES was the [President between Katsav and Rivlin], and because I forgot the word RIVES, which means [Splits violently]. Given those three answers sit atop each other in the corner, the slow going was understandable. Oh yeah, and the crossing ELMER RICE, the [“Street Scene” Pulitzer winner], was also new to me. If it weren’t for taking chances with DEATH GRIP and LIFE SAVER as the answers to [Really harmful hold] and [Mae West relative], respectively, I think I’d still be working on this corner.

Brief tangent #1: coming into this puzzle, I would have thought a life saver, the inflated ring tossed to one who has gone overboard, was a “Mae West.” But now I realize that term only applies to a life jacket, which makes sense because only a life jacket would give one the buxom appearance of Ms. West. I always like how crosswords refine my vocabulary.

Brief tangent #2: The clue for TUBISTS, [They can handle heavy winds], really threw me because I insisted that tubas were brass instruments and not woodwinds. A closer reading of the clue, however, reveals that the answer could be any instrument into which one blows. I always like how crossword blogging has me typing phrases that I never would in the wild, like “into which one blows.”

Spreading further into the south, I sure wanted Patrick STEWART or some other cast member in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” to be the [Actor who delivered the line “If you’re Q, does that make him R?”]. Alas, I had the wrong franchise. It’s supposed to be Q from the James Bond franchise, which narrows the possible answers considerably. Pierce BROSNAN fits well here. MOUSE OVER, the answer to [Give a cursory look?], didn’t fool me for a second, but both ION ENGINE and CHILD SEAT gave me fits, the former because of my unfamiliarity with it and the latter because of that wonderfully devilish clue, [Place for many a harnessed traveler]. Yes, at one point I thought to myself, “What’s another name for a hitching post?” But I smiled when I realized the correct answer, and that’s the whole point of a challenging crossword.

Next came the northeast. I can’t help but think my solving time would have been closer to my normal had I known that TIMEX was the [“Wear it well” sloganeer]. Eventually, I plunked down LOGE as the [Stadium section] and focused on the crossing G. The clue was [Mint sprig alternative]. When no herbs ending in -?G? came to mind, I thought of mint sprigs as a garnish. That’s when the idea for LIME WEDGE came to me. But it felt just a tad artificial to be the correct answer. Still, I played with it. It seemed to fit–the crossings of EWE and DIFFER fit, and I could see how the other letters formed likely suffixes to their crossings. So yeah, I guess LIME WEDGE was right after all. Then I kept looking at the clue for 14-Down, [Women, to some codgers]. SEX OBJECTS would work, and for a second I thought “Frank Longo is one of the few constructors out there who could put an answer with all those rare letters at the far right side and somehow make it work” (there aren’t many answers ending with J, X, C and B, you know). But that didn’t fit here (one too many letters). But then I wondered, “What if the answer ends in SEX?” and from there, the corner fell easily. Women were the FAIRER SEX, which gave me TIMEX and everything else in that section quite rapidly.

But I still had to conquer the northwest. All I had was ???PS for the clue [Heeds a red alert] and that was all. The clues were confusing: How could the answer to [Spoke, say] be only three letters when the shortest answer I could imagine is SAID? How am I supposed to know the [Home of the Danish railway museum]? And why is the only answer I can think of to [___ Fresh (classic ad mascot)], POP’N, two letters shy of the six required here? Ugh! On the first question, I wondered whether the “spoke” referred to the noun instead of the verb. Well then, the answer could be something like ROD, but who knows. And POP’N might be POPPIN’, but I doubt it. Finally, I figured, “aw hell, let me just put in all my guesses for each answer and see what I get.” And yep, sure enough, everything fell into place pretty rapidly thereafter. Even ODENSE, the railway museum home, fell for this oh-so-dense solver. The final sticking point was 1-Across. I know there’s TMZ, but I was unaware of TMZ SPORTS as the [News source that broke the Donald Sterling story]. My hunch is that “TMZ Sports” is just a cubicle in the TMZ offices, but I suppose it’s legit.

Other items of note:

  • I like how the only two 9-letter answers that aren’t in stacks are related: LP RECORDS, the [Wax found in jackets], and AM-FM TUNER, the [Hi-fi feature]. I’m lucky to be old enough to remember both of these things.
  • Then there’s all the iron-pumping in the clues. We have [Iron-pumping person?] for a PRESSER and DELTS are [Iron-pumping targets].
  • I liked the clue for OSMOSIS, the [Unconscious means of learning] that many hope will work by placing a textbook under the pillow at bedtime.
  • I like recycling tired clues for crosswordese by assigning them to new entries. We’ve all seen [Storefront abbr.] for ESTD, but here it’s used for HRS (hours). Nice touch!

Favorite entry = DEATH GRIP. Favorite clue = [Tiny characters in “E.T.”] for the two PERIODS in the film’s title.

Marilyn Lieb’s syndicated Los Angeles Times crossword, “Single-Minded”

LA Times Sunday crossword solution, 1 4 15 "Single-Minded"

LA Times Sunday crossword solution, 1 4 15 “Single-Minded”

The theme entries are made by halving a double letter in a familiar phrase, cluing the resulting fake phrase accordingly:

  • 23a. [Manicurist’s work area?], FILING STATION. From “filling station.”
  • 27a. [Jilted “dear” lover who hasn’t given up?], HOPING JOHN. Cute, except that hoppin’ John (good luck when eaten on New Year’s Day!) is usually written without a G.
  • 50a. [Grand Canal?], POLING PLACE. Feel like I never encounter mentions of poling outside of crosswords. Guess I don’t read a lot of stuff set in canal towns.
  • 66a. [Providing extra digital support?], TOE TAPING. That is pretty much a real thing, unlike the other theme answers.
  • 84a. [Finding a home for an Anaheim team?], SITING DUCKS. “Siting” as a verb is unexciting.
  • 105a. [Making hay when the sun doesn’t shine?], SNOW BALING. Snow is present on many a sunny day, and many a gray day has no snow.
  • 112a. [Furniture-weaving facility?], CANING FACTORY. Almost a real thing.
  • 31d. [Regally dressing aristocrats?], ROBING THE RICH. 
  • 35d. [Making a patio out of a garden?], TILING THE SOIL. Pretty sure no one would describe the laying of patio paving stones as tiling. Or would they? Also, sand comes in handy for leveling.

The theme answers are all consistently structured, but I didn’t find myself amused at any of the results. Ideally, you get a few funny images into the mix.

Five more things:

  • 10d. [Vietnamese port], HAIPHONG. It’s a good-sized city but I’d never heard of it and so I worked the crossings for all the letters.
  • 87d. [D neighbors on most guitars], G STRINGS. Aw, come on! We could have had fun with this clue.
  • 77d. [Romantic skunk], LE PEW. Pepe Le Pew isn’t romantic, he’s the embodiment of sexual harassment, stalking, and rape culture.
  • 33d. [Hosiery thread], LISLE. I don’t think stockings are made from cotton lisle anymore; Google shows me antique mending kits from the ’30s and ’40s with thread for mending lisle stockings. There are lisle socks these days, and socks are part of the hosiery category.
  • 80d. [It made its last commercial flight in February 2014], DC-TEN. Or, as everyone really writes it, DC-10.

3.25 stars.

Patrick Blindauer’s January website puzzle, “Floor Plan” — Matt’s review

Floor Plan 03

19×19 PDF-only from Blindauer this month, which portends trickery. There are five shaded theme entries, all running down:

3-D [Speaker of this puzzle’s quote] = SAM LEVENSON. Not sure who he is. Comedian? Journalist/humorist.

The next four are the four parts of the quote:


That’s pretty funny, and I like how the key element of ELEVATOR is in the center of the grid. Which I realize now must mean the grid is in fact 19×18, since ELEVATOR has an even number of letters.

So where’s the standard Blindauer magic? Sixteen entries in the grid take a turn at the theme entries, riding the elevator up or down to finish their run. For example, at 31-Across we have just three letters for [Little ___ (E Street Band member)], which is STEVEN. So you put the STE in, then ride down the elevator to get the VEN.

The others that need an elevator trip are:

25-A PAL(MAS), up
26-A PURI(FY), down
34-A PLE(B), up
42-A ERAS(URE), down
46-A SHRO(UD), down
47-A SAL(E), up or down
56-A TIT(HE), down
71-A NA(NOS), up
72-A ONE OCT(AVE), up
74-A SHO(T), up
76-A SOU(P), down
87-A NITR(O), up
99-A, ERN(ANI), up
101-A ROUGH(S UP), up
103-A GLUT (TON), down

I looked for a secret message spelled out by the pivot letters, but LIEEEOLTNTURNHT didn’t seem to yield anything, though the TURN in there is suggestive. The post-pivot letters (in parentheses above) also didn’t lead anywhere that I could see.

I liked this puzzle, but didn’t love it. The idea of certain entries needing to ride an elevator up or down is appealing, but the solve got sloggy in many places with so many constraints, and there wasn’t any rhyme or reason that I could see as to which entries would take a ride, and in what direction. And some of the entries were cluable without their ride, like ROUGH, SAL, PAL, TIT and ERAS, which bumped the tightness of the idea down a notch.

Also, the grid contains a large number of asymmetrically-placed bars to facilitate these elevator rides, which made things even clunkier (and also led to a couple of two-letter entries).

Did I miss something? Let me know in comments if so. 3.90 stars, a rating that may be adjusted if someone points out a layer or three that I missed.

Henry Hook’s CRooked crossword, “Collective Bargaining” — pannonica’s write-up

CRooked • 1/4/15 • "Collective Bargaining" • Hook • hex/hook, bg • solution

CRooked • 1/4/15 • “Collective Bargaining” • Hook • hex/hook, bg • solution

Wow. I did not enjoy this puzzle. Not because it was difficult, not because the theme wasn’t any good, and not because it had too many notes.

It’s because there were a HOST (67a) of annoyances that overwhelmed whatever merits and joys were to be found therein. I’m going to break with convention, invert the conventional write-up order, and discuss the faults before the theme.

Abbrevs! SORority right at one-across – bad omen. From there the solver is heaped upon with the likes of BTRY (battery), SQS, MSS, RCS, EPISC, PGS, PTS, and YDS. Note the preponderance of plur. abbrevs. And that’s without getting into BBB and PPP.

Overt dupes! 21a [Sherpa’s tool] ICE AX, 100a [Have an __ to grind] AX TO. 2d [“Darn it!”] OH RATS, 28d [“__ believe in yesterday”] OH I. 19d [George‘s singing aunt] ROSEMARY Clooney, 90d [Conductor Solti] GEORG.

Partials! In addition to OH I and AX TO, above: Break IT UP, “I COME to bury Caesar, …”, TRA la la, CRO-Magnon. Plus, lesser affixes: OVI-, -GLOT; not so bad inandofthemselves, but with all the other frass, they jangle.

People you nowadays only or mostly see in crosswords! Joseph ALSOP (hey, at least make it current via conductor Marin!), ERNEST | THAYER, Someguy HOUK, Lou LEHR, ILIE Nastase, UTA Hagen. As with ALSOP above, aging male British musician ROBYN Hitchcock could have been exchanged in favor of one-named (and female) current Swedish pop sensation ROBYN (Robin Carlsson).

Little foreign words! [Potsdam possessive] EUER (German for formal you-‘your’), [Aachen article] DER (weakened by similarity to the jokey [Dis and dat?] DESE, and the Spanish infinitive SER. Plus the less objectionable OLÉ, PÊRE, and OBI.

Finally, ugly miscellany such as ERNES, XD IN, STERE, and BE FAIR (Don’t cheat].

On the (scanty) positive side, I liked [Decide overnight] SLEEP ON IT, the duality of Bill MAHER / Phil or Steve MAHRE, GLENGARRY, the clue for GAOLER [Reading employee], and the trivia imparted by [College whose name means “big hill”] BRYN MAWR. Hm, I notice a concentration of UK-orient(at)ed items here. Coincidental, I assure you.

Most amusing mis-fill: 46d [Savage critter] BRUCE, accidentally before BRUTE. Et tu?

Okay, the theme. Extant phrases including collective nouns for animals, acknowledged as such in the clues. Note the impressive construction feat of pairing theme entries: stacked in the first and last two acrosses, one column apart for the verticals, and intersecting symmetrically, crosshair-style, in the center.

  • 18a. [Jewelry for finches?] CHARM BRACELETS.
  • 22a. [Story of gorilla warfare?] BAND OF BROTHERS.
  • 65a. [Chicks’ accessory?] CLUTCH PURSE.
  • 106a. [TV mystery for crows?] MURDER, SHE WROTE.
  • 111a. [Combo of ponies?] STRING QUARTET.
  • 12d. [Container for puppies?] LITTER BASKET.
  • 14d. [Religious leopards?] LEAP OF FAITH.
  • 38d. [Rhino’s headgear?] CRASH HELMET.
  • 55d. [Teacher of fish?] SCHOOLMASTER.
  • 64d. [Source of great pleasure for lions?] PRIDE AND JOY.

Ten themers isn’t an outlandishly large amount, but one must presume that they significantly impacted the quality of the rest of the grid. And since it isn’t a particularly exciting or earth-shattering theme to start with, the pleasures here are minimal.

Alan Arbesfeld’s Sunday Challenge CrosSynergy crossword —Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy Sunday Challenge crossword solution, 01.04.15

CrosSynergy Sunday Challenge crossword solution, 01.04.15

Hello there, everyone! Hope you’re doing well, and my apologies for the late post.

Just got to this, Mr. Alan Arbesfeld gave me a little bit more difficulty on this Sunday Challenge than the past few challenges we’ve had recently. For a little while, the only answer I had filled was PANETTA (17A: [Former Secretary of Defense under Obama]). Hopped over to the Northeast section and immediately was able to fill in STEELER, and from there, I finally got things going (14D: [“Immaculate Reception” team member]). Is it too soon to needle Steelers fans about their team losing in the playoffs this weekend to the Baltimore Ravens?  Nah! More crossword talk. Such an interesting intersection with AROUND THE CORNER (8D: [Pretty close]) and NOT NEAR (56A: [Some distance from]). I guess dichotomy amongst intersecting entries can help to make for a decent puzzle. I’m not a construction expert, in terms of what makes a good construction of a grid, but the two 15-letter entries in the middle of the grid, separated by one line, was something I appreciated. It also helped that the actual two answers for them, DON’T BE A STRANGER (31A: [“Stay in touch”]) and COLOR TELEVISION, weren’t difficult fills once I got a couple of letters in the entries (36A: [Technological development of the ’50s]).

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: STUART SCOTT (1A: [ESPN sports anchor and class act whom I had the appreciated to work with personally])– No, this isn’t a clue from today’s puzzle, but it’s a tribute to a personal friend of mine, Stuart Scott, who passed away due to cancer today at the age of 49. Not only did he present sports to a more urban audience that endeared many people, myself included, to him, but he was nothing but a class act when I was a game show writer and I worked with him during his time as host of an ESPN game show, Stump The Schwab.  He was always full of life, almost always had a smile on his face, was an amazing father and definitely made an impact on me as both a teenager, and as an adult.  I’ll miss you, Stu.

Have a good day, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Take care!


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20 Responses to Sunday, January 4, 2015

  1. Paolo P. says:

    Loved the NYT puzzle for today; the fill felt livelier than usual. I think having five themers may have opened up the grid more.
    (Also, the “Frozen” title was the first entry that went into my grid and I’m not sure what that says about me)

  2. Ben Zimmer says:

    Assuming the basis for Merl’s OAHU pun is “Wahoo!”… or maybe even “Oh! Wahoo!”

    • ArtLvr says:

      YIPPEE OAHU — Maybe the phrase came from the Whigs’ winning 1840 Presidential Campaign Slogan and song, “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too”. William Henry Harrison was the hero of the Battle of Tippecanoe…

      • TammyB says:

        I assumed it came from the cowboy song “Ghostriders in the Sky” (or something similar) with a refrain which roughly translates phonetically to:

        Yippee aye yay
        Yippee aye ohh ohh

        Johnny Cash recorded it

  3. Margaret says:

    In the Friday write-up, we were told that Matt Gaffney would be writing about the Patrick Blindauer monthly puzzle on Saturday. Any chance this is still to come? I would love to see it! I really feel like I’m missing something crucial and I’d love to see what other people thought, hoping Matt found the time to do this.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Thanks for the reminder—I meant to add a Blindauer header to this post. Matt didn’t have time to blog the puzzle for the Saturday post, but it’s coming!

      • Matt Gaffney says:

        Yeah I’m sorry, this weekend got away from me. It will be up tomorrow.

        • Margaret says:

          Thank you!

        • Judith Speer says:

          This is why I love this site. Until your writeup, I puzzled over this puzzle because I saw the answers going down but I never caught on to them going up. Ironic, when part of the quote is “push the up button”. For this and probably many other reasons, I’m afraid I’m doomed to be only a Week 2 meta solver. Ah well. I’ll keep trying.

          • Margaret says:

            Oh, for gosh sakes, now I see it, what a dope I am. Even with the elevator answer and elevators going to different floors, I was still entirely thrown off by the “floor plan” title. Could only picture floor plans showing layouts of doors and windows and couldn’t figure out why the answers turned when they did. They turn when they hit the elevator, of course! Thanks for the puzzle and the write-up.

  4. JohnV says:

    Didn’t feel like a Sunday. Too tricky.

  5. ahimsa says:

    I enjoyed the NYT puzzle once I realized the theme was more than just a missing MAN, it was MAN turning the corner and going downwards (I often don’t look at the title until I need a hint). And I liked it even though the NE corner stumped me.

    I did not know that OFFISH was a thing. (funny side note, I did a Google books search looking for some usage examples and found *pages* of misspelled “of fish” entries). I also don’t know Rabelais (to get EARTHY) and wasn’t sure of the other crosses. I actually considered uFFISH for a while! (“And as in uffish thought he stood …”) Finally I gave up and revealed 11 Across so I could finish.

  6. ArtLvr says:

    re Post Puzzler — very tough for lots of reasons! Sure I was on the right wave-length at 2D asking for “offerer of concrete solutions”, I entered MAFIA… Dead wrong! Ugh.

  7. Pauer says:

    Sometimes rules are meant to be broken. Sometimes they are meant to be broken all at once. :)

    • Norm says:

      But, if you give no clues, it’s anarchy. Suffice to say, I did not like this puzzle for exactly that reason.

      • pauer says:

        I thought about giving clues like [2 floors] or some such, but thought that would take away a lot of discoveries. Maybe the next one will be more to your liking; I’m quite proud of it.

  8. John Haber says:

    I thought there was just too much weird stuff, like (as Amy mentioned) ALE GLASS and SEA EAR (not in RHUD). I usually love NYC area clues, as almost making up for so many that feel directed at the nation as a whole but obscure to me (even cars). But even I don’t recognize LEONIA. (And I thought PBR was just cheap beer, whereas hipsters drink craft brews.) And isn’t OPAL a milky white, not blue?

    But the theme, while promising, could have worked better for me. I expected the central entry to typify and explain it in some way, where it didn’t help that I don’t have a kid so don’t know Disney. Instead it was just another theme entry. But also, after SNOWMAN and WOMAN, both neatly running down, I was thrown that some entries turned only partway down. I was wondering for too long whether somehow the genre of novels I knew as BILDUNGSROMAN gave them an obscure plural with an A at the end.

  9. Amy L says:

    One of the 9,000 people in Leonia, NJ is Alan Alda–and everyone who does crosswords knows him.

Comments are closed.