Sunday, November 23, 2014

How OCD are you?



The first thing I noticed when I turned to the Premier Crossword by Frank Longo was that four of the answers span the entire width of the grid - that's pretty ambitious for a 21 x 21 puzzle. The puzzle's title is "Propelling Answer" which isn't very revealing as to what might be going on with the theme, but a glance at the clues quickly reveals that there's a riddle afoot so surely when the puzzle is complete the payoff will involve a pun or a play on words.

Even with the grid completely filled in the length of the theme answers makes them difficult to parse, and I made a couple of mistakes that stayed in for too long because I couldn't count on the riddle parts for any help until they were almost complete. Finally the down answers let me fill in enough of the long answers to see the riddle and its answer:

23a - WHEN THE DOCTOR AND I WERE
36a - WORKING IN THE GARDEN AND
56a - HE ASKED ME TO PUSH
84a - HIS BARROW FOR HIM
96a - WHAT DID I SAY IN RESPONSE?

117a-PHYSICIAN, WHEEL THYSELF!

To which I can only say, "HA HA" (66d - "Funny joke!") - that's it? AFRAID SO (25d - "Yes, alas").  I still haven't figured out just how "Propelling Answer" applies to the puzzle but that's probably just a failure of imagination on my part. YEAH, OK (98d - "Sure, whatever"), I'll move on.

There were some entries in the grid that I thought were interesting choices. MALAWI (73a - Neighbor of Mozambique) and MALIA (123a - Sasha's sis) have an exotic look, and EPONYMS (95d - People who lend their names to things) and DIORAMA (122a - 3-D model of a scene) are perfectly good words that you don't see often, at least not in my social circles. STEANNE (124a - Patroness of Qu├ębec: Abbr) looks completely bizarre without any punctuation and spacing, and I like how Frank used the accent mark in the clue to signal the use of the French abbreviation for a female saint - details like that please me. Speaking of details, shouldn't SHAH (99d - Persian ruler) have "former" or "bygone" in the clue?

I'll leave you to ponder on that question and remember, if the phone doesn't ring IT'S ME (40d - Common answer at the door).





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