February 14, 2014 by manvspuzzle
Theme: Some lovey-dovey stuff. The 2 15-letter answers act as a “mini theme” in honor of Valentine’s Day.
- 36A — Phrase from Virgil appropriate for Valentine’s Day : LOVE CONQUERS ALL
- 8D — Delivers a romantic Valentine’s Day surprise, maybe : POPS THE QUESTION
What’s Good: The Long (8+) Answers. The short stuff isn’t great, but the long stuff makes up for it. I especially like the debut answers STAY COOL, READ A BOOK, LAKE POET, and ARMY CAMP.
Nice enough. This mini-theme is a good way to give a little nod to Valentine’s Day without ruining everyone’s Friday. Friday people want a difficult puzzle with no theme — that’s just the way it is. But if you’re the editor, you basically *have to* at least acknowledge holidays and other special events when they occur. So this is a great compromise.
Speaking of hard, I found the northeast to be just that. I originally had FATTY for FATSO, and it wasn’t until I fixed that (which took a while) that I could see ENDLESSLY. Then came ESSO, then STAY COOL. But the very top of that section still remained impenetrable to me. It all finally worked out, but I spent about half of my solve just messing around in that area.
Then there was the crossing of OPA and APO. I had no idea about OPA, but in retrospect, I should have known APO — I’ve certainly seen it before. But I guessed an ‘I’ instead of an ‘A’ and finished with a mistake. Dang it!
Like I said above, the long stuff here made me happy, but I could have done without lots of the shorter stuff. ITA, VSO, PONTE, APO, TUN, CRI — not my faves. But all fairly crossed (except possibly APO, which I already discussed).
Good stuff. Thanks, Bruce.