Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday, April 26, 2013, Michael Ashley


At first, I thought that this was one of those puzzles that uses every letter of the alphabet at least once or twice. There's a name for those... pangram? Is that it? Anyway, the last time I remember this happening, the resulting puzzle was less than ideal. This time, however, it's missing a Q and a V (I'm pretty sure), but maybe that is what saved it from being terrible. There still are a lot of high-point Scrabble letters in here, though, and Frannie, especially, liked working with "all the fancy letters."

Initially, I feared the grid with its nearly sealed-off corners, but there wasn't any trouble getting from one section to another. And with only a few three-letter answers (what are there, six?), and one of those being UTZ (44A: Potato chip brand), well, we have no complaints.

A very clean, enjoyable puzzle. Not too hard, seemingly, or maybe it just fell right into our collective wheelhouses. (Or should that just be "wheelhouse," since I already said "collective?") Frannie just laid down things like ANNEMEARA (17A: "Archie Bunker's Place" actress) and ASHCAKES (20A: Some cornbreads) (odd coincidence, I made cornbread for dinner tonight! But not directly on fiery coals.), while I put in things like OLLIE (18A: No-handed skateboarding trick) and, off that "O,"  BMOCS (10D: Quad standouts), without hesitation. What one didn't know, the other did, and so it went.

LILA (11D: Lee of silent films), was a complete unknown, and I suppose if you weren't familiar with the term "Ollie," you might try some other letter there (S, maybe??). And SWARMS for (1D: A lot) wasn't our favorite answer ever, but these are trifling complaints. Not the cleverest puzzle, but a clean one, and that counts for a lot.

- Horace


  1. 1:04:29
    I'm a bit behind. I finished this with some problems, but things eventually fell into place. I didn't know LILA or OLLIE, but filled them both in. It took a little while to get STARJONES and ANNEMEARA, as well as ASHCAKES, a term with which I was unfamiliar. Everyone loves MILAKUNIS. I've not seen, previous to this puzzle, CBATTERY referenced, and originally thought that STATETAX was STAMPTAX, but that didn't make sense. I enjoyed 57A "Band" leader of the 1960s SGTPEPPER, and I never heard of 30A "Forever Your Girl" by ABDUL, but I'll take their word for it since I'm pretty sure that I don't want to hear it.

  2. I loved, loved, loved this puzzle. A lot of very cool, clever stuff. "Base fare," "Bugs," "When repeated, response to 'Who wants dessert," and "Some Spanish dates" are all terrific. Lots of good old school stuff for me: ARNESS, ABDUL, JANE, SGTPEPPER, ENEMYMINE, AJAR. Liked PORN and PATOIS. The answers I didn't know--and there were quite a few--were gettable by crosses. The one guess was the L in LILA and OLLIE. Fortunately I hit on that one because I really wanted to finish this gem of a Friday.

  3. Yeah, it was ok, but I certainly didn't love it as much as you. Possibly because I didn't know ARNESS, ABDUL (know her, of course, but not that song), ENEMYMINE, or MILAKUNIS, among others. Not that that makes for a bad puzzle, of course, as you say, you didn't know some, but I don't know, I just didn't love it.