Sunday, April 12, 2015

One Vee Too Many?

It's far too nice a day in my little corner of puzzledom to spend it inside so I'll make this very quick. This week's Premier Crossword by Frank Longo is titled "As The Saving Goes", and I discovered very early in the solving process that it's a literal example of the puzzle's theme. All of the long theme answers consist of common phrases that have had the letter "Y" replaced with a "V" to create punny new phrases:

23a - PAVING ATTENTION (Focus applied when covering a surface with concrete?)
32a - VALE UNIVERSITY (College between two hills?)
50a - MARTHA RAVE (Great review from the wife of George Washington?)
53a - OIL OF OLAV (Scandinavian king's lubricant?)
67a - ARE WE HAVING FUN VET? (Question to an animal doc at an amusement park?)
84a - AVE SAILOR (Caesar's hail to a mariner?)
86a - DEER SLAVER (Buck that's toiling away?)
100a-EVE OF THE NEEDLE (Seamstress who was Adam's mate?)
114a-PROTECTIVE LAVER (Tennis great Rod who keeps everyone safe?)

So there you have it - replace the red "v"s with "y"s to get a familiar name or phrase (you've either heard of Martha Raye, or you haven't). There is one structural issue that caused me some heartburn, and that's the second, non-thematic, "v" in the central answer - it just shouldn't be there. I was prepared to grant it immunity because it was in the exact center of the 21 x 21 grid, but it missed that spot by being one square to the left (I counted). Now I'm not saying that it ruined the puzzle for me, but Frank Longo is a stickler for detail and I'll bet he would have loved to not have an extraneous "v" in a theme answer, but there it is. My only other quibble is that a mariner is more likely to hail "ahoy, sailor" than "ave", but that's just nit-picking.

All-in-all, I had a lot of fun trying to guess the theme answers from just the crosswords in place when I came to them (solving top to bottom as I do) and for the most part I was successful which made the puzzle seem a little easier than usual, but maybe that's just me.

EPISODIC (20a - Aired in installments) appeared in last week's puzzle at 2d, with a slightly different clue. See, I have been PA(Y)ING ATTENTION.

I once POSITS(ed) (39a - Puts forward as fact) elsewhere that there are several types of sailors, including VOYAGERS (52d - Sailors, say) - you can read all about it here (or not, it's up to you.):

See UTES next week (that's BrooklynESE, right?).

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