Theme: Countdown — Theme answers are familiar phrases in which the last word of the phrase is something that might be counted.
- 18A: Informal polls (STRAW VOTES).
- 26A: Cause of unhealthful weight gain (EMPTY CALORIES).
- 45A: Rockies grazers (MOUNTAIN SHEEP).
- 60A: Prominent schnozzes (ROMAN NOSES).
- 54D: Tally, and what to do with the last word of 18-, 26-, 45- or 60-Across (COUNT).
Hey there. Y'all sick of me yet? Seems like I'm everywhere, doesn't it? Well, today I'm here and we're talking about this Tuesday puzzle. I'm probably not going to spend a lot of time talking about it because, well, let me back up a minute. The other day I was having an email exchange with a puzzle constructor about this blog. I was telling him that it's a lot easier for me to sit down and write about the stuff that I don't like in a puzzle than it is to write about the stuff that I do like. And I really think that says more about my personality than about anything else. So I just want to say right here that when I'm giving you my opinion about a puzzle? That's exactly what it is: totally my opinion. I'm actually one of those people who believes that objectivity is a myth. So please don't think that I'm up here on my high horse telling you what you should and shouldn't like. Really, I'm just telling you what I do and don't like and I hope that will serve as a jumping-off point for the comments section. SO. With all that said ... I didn't care much for this puzzle. (I bet you knew that's where I was going with this! Because you're so smart!)
There were so many things that seemed "off" to me. For example, I've heard of a straw poll but never STRAW VOTES. Also, MOUNTAIN SHEEP? Seems like it should be goats. I'm sure mountain sheep are perfectly legitimate animals, but that doesn't mean I have to like them showing up in my Tuesday puzzle. LAME seems like a pretty old-fashioned way of saying 16A: Limping. And LAVS for 58A: Johns? What country are we in? I can think of a lot of things to call Dr. Laura, but ADVICE GURU isn't one of them. And please don't get me started on the duet of horrible N words: NITERY (6D: Cabaret, casually) and NATANT (46D: Swimming).
Did I like anything about the puzzle? Well, sure:
- 35A: "__ Millionaire": 2008 Best Picture (SLUMDOG). I haven't seen this movie yet, but noticed it while browsing the On Demand offerings the other night. It's awesome to see in the puzzle because it's so current.
- 55A: Chip maker __-Lay (FRITO). I had no idea how offensive the Frito Bandito commercials were when I was a kid. I also didn't understand "All in the Family." I guess that's what happens when you grow up in a small town full of white people.
- 59A: Gusto (BRIO). Love the word BRIO. Even though I confidently entered elan at first.
- 66A: Write to on a cell phone (TEXT). This one is notable to me only because it raises a question I think is interesting. Do you really think of texting as "writing to"? I actually think of it more as "talking." I suppose "communicating" would be more apt, but, I don't know. To me it just feels like talking. Maybe that's just because PuzzleHusband and I text each other from different rooms of the house instead of, ya know, going to find each other and literally talking.
- 1D: Bedtime hr. after a late date, perhaps (ONE A.M.). Random.
- 30D: Antony's loan request? (EARS). This is by far the best thing in the puzzle. "Friends, Romans [especially those with ROMAN NOSES], countrymen, lend me your ears...." Love it.