Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Constructor: Caleb Emmons
Relative difficulty: EASY
THEME: Secret theme! A-E-I-O-U—each row includes only one vowel, in that order: rows 1, 6, and 11 contain only A, rows 2, 7, and 12 contain only E, and so on.
Word of the Day: "Poltroon" (20A: "Utter coward") —
"An utter coward" (Google) [ಠ_ಠ -Ed.]
"A spiritless coward: craven" (Merriam Webster)
• • •Hello, I'm Adrianne Jeffries, live from New York. I'm sorry I'm not Rex! I'd be disappointed if I were you, too.
Speaking of disappointment, boy what a not-fun puzzle this was for me! The A-E-I-O-U ploy is super clever, but 1) it doesn't present itself until the end of the downs, and 2) at what cost?
The puzzle starts off Tuesday-ily enough, as we CHAT and AT BAT and TBA, all normal normal, until we hit POLTROON, which, if anyone organically got this answer, I'll eat my hat.
But okay, while recovering from POLTROON, we hit a run of mediocrity with SISS ("to make a hissing sound"), FRAS (this will be good for Scrabble), and SSTS ("supersonic transport), plus ELL and RRR and ICI. We have the "Peter, Paul & Mary" clue, which we also had yesterday, except today they're a TRIO.
RUFUS as in Wainright felt like the freshest clue in the puzzle:
I don't think I need to say which answer felt the mustiest:
Oh look, it's making a comeback! Source: Google's Ngram Viewer, which searches for phrases in books.
I'm scanning the puzzle for answers I liked and keep spotting more duds, like TKT. I did like THE CREEPS and SNOOT, because they are words for humans.
The thing with the rows and the vowels was really nifty. My crossword partner and I basically gasped when we realized what that clue was saying. For that kind of acrobatics, Caleb, I'll forgive you PHILIP III, OOO, and AAA MAP. The rest of the fill here looks ham-handed, though—especially when compared to the deftness of the theme trick.
Adrianne Jeffries, just some blogger, basically (special thanks Sam Thonis)