Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013, Josh Knapp


I was worried about this one. After my first pass on all the clues, I only had six or seven things filled in. Luckily, I had taken guesses on CARD (24D: Real character), PREEN (22D: Act the coxcomb (thank you Arshile Gorky! and your painting "The Liver is the Coxcomb")), and CAVEIN (9D: Spineless response to pressure), so when I came across 26A: Cackling loon with a white coat for the second time, I had just enough to realize that it would be MADSCIENTIST. From there, WORLDDOMINATION (36A: Goal for many a 26- or 43-Across) followed quickly, and once those two biggies were in, things started to fall into place. Whew! I didn't love the last theme answer SUPERVILLAIN (43A: Mighty heavy). I guess it's a little clever, but something about that clue just didn't seem perfect.

I guessed THE and NFL for 35A: With 40-Acorss, "Inside ____" (postgame show), even though I thought it would be odd for them to have this clue when it is so clearly not football season, but they just had a puzzle all about the 13 Colonies yesterday, which some people thought might have been better nearer to July 4th, so who knows? Neither 31:Stiff bristles (AWNS) nor 22D: ____ Matsuhisa, celebrity chef and restauranteur (NOBU) did anything to change my mind about NFL, but finally GRAPESHOT (23D: Small cannon balls) inflicted the necessary damage to my incorrect fill.

Lots of satisfying realizations when things finally got filled in - DIMENSION, SLEEPERCAR, FISHINGROD, ARTCRITIC, and the final piece to fall in for me on this one, EXILE (3D: Many a booted ruler). I enjoyed the combination of LEERAT (10D: Examine as a wolf would) and TENS (30D: Fox ratings). There wasn't too much objectionable, groanable stuff in here, and even AERIE, a nest frequently built into crossword grids, got the nice, tricky clue, 16A: Cliff hanger?. I like to think that 1A: Verbal shrug, MEH, is a nod to The Simpsons, but then, I think a lot of stuff relates to that show.

- Horace


  1. 46:22
    I see you got in just under the 30:00 wire. This was a tough one until I filled in DIMENSION and SLEEPERCAR. I enjoyed the clue for that one, as well as the pair related to HISSED and CLAPS. I also filled in THE NFL, but when I saw NOBU I changed it to NBA. I'd never heard of the GIVEANDGO, but I assume that's an actual move. I thought that "One preparing and oil pan?" was clever. I was thinking, originally, of someone acting as an artist's apprentice, but since most artists aren't particularly wealthy the position of artist's apprentice probably doesn't exist. "Natural life support system" was another good one. Anyway, I've just printed out today's (Saturday) puzzle, so I'll have a go at it, though I'm not very confident.

  2. This is the best puzzle I've encountered since I caught up with your blog . Seemed difficult at first-- I had filled in the SE and some of the Central East and then left it while I ran various errands--but eventually it filled in quite nicely. I love the trifecta of MADSCIENTIST, SUPERVILLAIN, and WORLDDOMINATION. But what sets this one apart is the overall quality and the dearth of crosswordese (only AWNS really qualifies--IAGO, AERIE, and OBOE escape the designation because of the quality of the clues). Too many clever clues to mention, but I will single out a few: "One of two in a plane," "Where people drop off on the line," One preparing an oil pan," "Examine as a wolf would," and the combo of greetings for good and bad guys. Also several interesting and unusual answers: ETHANE, GRAPESHOT, SMOKINGGUN, ADDEND. I just loved this one!