Ned White’s Friday, 2/7/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

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February 7, 2014 by manvspuzzle

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Theme: None, really.  But there is a shout-out to America at 34A (Patriotic chant: USA USA USA) (the Olympics start today, dinguses).

Something Good: The cluing.  Lots of “learning clues,” which are my faves, with a nice mixture of wordplay and “?” stuff.

2 7 14

Great stuff.  Except for HO GAUGE (25D — Common standard for model railroads) and VIRAGOS (38D — Witchy women).

Damn, I just spent a little time researching both of these things, and I’m super freakin happy to have learned them.  Seems like I should have already known VIRAGOS.  Ah, well.

So I guess I don’t really mind HO GAUGE and VIRAGOS.  But EHLE (53D — Actress Jennifer of “Pride and Prejudice”) and APLEY (44A — John P. Marquand’s “The Late George ___”), can I complain about those?  Yeah, probably.  APLEY is at least crossed fairly, so no real issue there.  But I was only about 90% sure on my choice of ‘E’ for the first letter of EHLE.  So I frown at it a bit.  You hear me, Ned White?  I frown at your puzzle!

I have nothing else to whine about here.  It’s all really great.  DOO BE DOO BE DOO and GIMME GIMME GIMME?  Super fun.  BEGS THE QUESTION, DOUBLE BOGEYED, SPEED SKATER?  Hell yes.  ARE YOU OK?  I’m in puzzle heaven with this stuff.

One last thing: as a philosophy minor in college (sorry ladies, I’m taken), I spent lots of time thinking about fallacies and having one intense, mulletted, awesome professor point out how we all begged the question with nearly everything we tried to argue.  Fun stuff.

But all of that led me to respect the term.  So nowadays, when I hear smart, respected people use the term BEGS THE QUESTION improperly, I bristle a bit.  If you’re using the term like this…

Sally is lactose intolerant, which begs the question: why did they serve ice cream at her birthday party?

 …then you’re doing it wrong.  You should probably read up on it.

That’s it.  Thanks, Ned and Will.

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