Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday, April 14, 2013, Elizabeth C. Gorski



We did this puzzle with our good friend and Sunday commenter, Colum, and I'll be transcribing some of his thoughts about this puzzle as I write this.

Very quick. His brother actually knows this puzzle constructor, and he likes her work, but thought that this was not her best. He liked the theme answers, and the fact that the eight theme answers went down instead of across. BITTERSWEETSYMPHONY (5D: 1988 Grammy-nominated song by The Verve) and SWISSFAMILYROBINSON (26D: Classic novel subtitled "Adventures in a Desert Island," with "The") were very nice long (19-letter) clues. Not too many annoying clues, and the puzzle as a whole had a good flow to it.

YEWTREE (81A: Archer's wood source) was a nice one - Colum knew this right away, but he and I both struggled with CDROM (51D: Flat storage site), until Frannie, the librarian, got it AND MERL (80A: Blackbird) (?!?) right away. Frannie also got ONYX (83A: Panther figurine  material) right off the clue. Colum, a musical sort, was all over 34A: Italian Renaissance composer Giovanni (GABRIELI). 

The two sports-related clues 13A: Pelé's given name (EDSON) and 18A: Jesus, for one (ALOU) were a nice pair. Interesting trivia for the first and a nice cluing of a familiar answer for the second.

Overall there were plenty of clever clues to balance out the short junk. The main problem, perhaps, is that it was a little too easy when all three of us were working on it together.

- Horace


  1. 44:32 (only one person working on this one)
    I found this puzzle to be pretty easy. The Telegram (LA Times) Sunday puzzle took me 48 minutes. I didn't know EDSON, but filled it in easily with the crosses, and I knew GABRIELI right away. It took awhile to get ALOU, but once I saw a couple of the letters the, as you say, "familiar answer" filled in. I love the BITTERSWEETSYMPHONY and of course got SWISSFAMILYROBINSON right away.
    I mentioned to your father (who visited yesterday) that he should sign up for the NYT puzzles and comment on your blog. He could easily knock off M-W at the least and probably would be able to finish Friday and Sunday at times, as well as some Thursdays. He looked for a long time at the Saturday puzzle but didn't come up with anything other than AGUA. I'm going to write to him with a few of the other answers after I'm done typing this.

  2. I agree that Dad should try the puzzles. I'll be seeing him today, and will try to reinforce that idea.

  3. Wow, are the syndicated Sundays only one week behind? Apparently so. Moderately easy Sunday for me. They are never very hard. I have heard that Sundays are like Thursdays in difficulty, but to me they seem more like Wednesdays. The upper-middle--the area with GABRIELI (Didn't know the man, but he eventually filled in nicely from the downs.), ENSIGN, OUTGROW, etc.--required a little more time than the rest of it. I loved the clue for ALOU. Also liked that "Hot for Teacher" turned up in a Times puzzle. "Kind of voyage?" was clever. Love the old school inclusion of "The Pearl." Huygens has an optimistic view of Dad's crosswording skills. He can usually finish the Monday Times. Tuesday most of the time too, but beyond that I wouldn't count on anything. "Probably . . . be able to finish Friday .. at times" No disrespect, of course, but to use one of the clues in today's puzzle, "Are you daft??"

  4. I'll have to be careful when setting the "Syndicated Column" link, which I have, as you might have noticed, not always remembered to do...

    Speaking of relative difficulty, I'm a little bit amazed that they can consistently find, or fine-tune, the puzzles to conform to the weekly sequence. Since we've been solving on the iPad, the times are logged automatically, and also averaged. Monday: 0:10:05, Tuesday: 0:15:52, Wednesday, 0:23:15, Thursday: 0:46:24, Friday: 0:53:34, Saturday: 1:10:51, Sunday: 1:29:30. And that's from a sample of maybe 115 puzzles. We aren't always rushing to finish as fast as we can, which almost makes it more amazing that they still average out in order.

    I'm not arguing that Sundays are the hardest, of course, and I agree that they usually seem to fall somewhere between Wednesday and Thursday. I just think it's amazing that they can get it so right most of the time.