Wednesday, July 26, 2016: “O”

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Solving time: 9:18, which is 20 minutes (!!) under my usual Wednesday time and continues this week’s trend of duck soup-easy puzzles. I think this might have marked the first time that I solved a Wednesday under 10 minutes, causing my average to drop by about 30 seconds just like my Tuesday average did after yesterday’s puzzle. Then again, my solving time for Wednesdays has been dropping recently – this is the second straight week that I did a Wednesday faster than the Tuesday right before it.

Puzzle quality: 

In honor of today’s theme,

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Theme: Each theme answer is punningly clued as “Place to find [x number of] O’s,” where O represents a circle or ring from a wide-ranging array of cultural icons, logos, and more. Not catching my drift? Not saying “O, I get it now?” Here are some examples, although you could just look at the cartoon above:

  1. THE HOBBIT (16A: Place to find one O). Sauron’s One Ring – or one O, I suppose – is a prominent part of J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit.
  2. VENN DIAGRAM (22A: Place to find two Os). Seeing double when you look at a Venn diagram? That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
  3. CIRCUS TENT (28A: Place to find three Os). In a “three-ring circus,” acts are happening in three different rings at the same time.
  4. AUDI DEALER (40A: Place to find four Os). Count the number of circles in the Audi logo.
  5. OLYMPIC FLAG (45A: Place to find five Os). Count the…Theme Revealer: RING CYCLE (59A: Wagner work … or a possible title for this puzzle)

In addition, we get several short “O”-themed clues, even though they don’t follow the [Place to find x Os] pattern:

  • I DO (64A: It’s said at the exchange of O’s). O’s, as in, wedding rings that you exchange at the altar.
  • END (30D: A O doesn’t have one). O, as in, circle. As in, that thing that doesn’t have ends because it lacks edges and corners, I think.

When I arrived at 16A and filled in the first theme clue (THE HOBBIT), I thought that the theme might literally just consist of words with one, two, three, four, or five O letters in them. (Oddly enough, when I think of one O and The Hobbit I think of the one ring of smoke that Hobbits can make from their pipes. See pic below.)  I thought I was in for another SAD TALE [clue from yesterday] like yesterday’s puzzle and was glad to be proven wrong.

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O, what a fine smoke!

I appreciated the creativity of the theme answers. OLYMPIC FLAG is sorta a gimme, especially since we’re less than a month away from the 2016 Olympics. But CIRCUS TENT evoked memories of childhood (I feel like an old beard-stroking porch-sitting man saying that), which I had forgotten could sometimes include three rings. AUDI DEALER adds flair and spice to two stock entries in the crosswordese vocabulary by combining them together.

While most of this puzzle FLIED (49A: __ out (didn’t make it on base, in a way)) past me – certainly wasn’t LENTO (50D: Slow, in music) this time around – I did get stuck at the very end on the UM (upper-middle) because I wasn’t familiar with PATCHOULI (13A: Scent in incense and insect repellants), nor was I aware that YUBAN (5D: Maxwell House alternative) is a coffee brand. Maybe one day, my crossword hobby will force me to actually drink coffee on a regular basis, especially when it’s late at night and I just have to finish that Saturday. MOIRA (11D: Shearer of “The Red Shoes”) and CORGI (48D: Pet at Queen Elizabeth’s side) were the only other words I couldn’t get from solely their respective clues, but I had enough context to help me out on both.

180nek

A thought: ROMANS might say OMNIA vincit amor (Love conquers all), but when someone you’ve OBSESSED over is no longer DRAWN to you, you just gotta GET OVER IT.

See ya tomorrow,
Kennai, lowly serf of Crossworld

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