This was a toughie! Started off with a few helpful gimmies, like BAUHAUS (27D: Mies van der Rohe was its last director), and although my initial guess ARI was wrong for 31A: Phoenix setting: Abbr., I was right on with ASHES for 53A: Phoenix setting? Wanted "Little league" something for 35A: It has short shortstops, but it took a while to get LITTLELEAGUETEAM, partly because I had errantly entered "Itsy" instead of EENY for 38D: Kids' rhyme starter. But eventually it came, and even before it did, BASEBALLDIAMONDS (42A: Places for a 35-Across) was easy enough.
So the triple-stack took care of itself, and with it that whole middle section. And before falling asleep, I got into the NE, with it's clever COB (8D: Middle ear?) and strange OPAL (9D: It's often set in a ring) (tried what I thought was the cleverer "bout" first).
There were still large swaths undone, but this morning Frannie, with her coffee, after announcing that there were probably some that we just wouldn't get, proceeded to announce triumph after triumph. TEJANO (65A: Certain Mexican-American) led to SHOJI (48D: Japanese sliding door), and then TARZANTHEAPEMAN (4D: Much-filmed swinger) revealed YOWZA (20A: "Incredible!"), and SCOW (3D: Trash hauler), and then OSCARNODS (14A: Stars are recognized with them), and suddenly it was done.
As Frannie said, when you start a puzzle with RESTAIN (1A: Finish differently, say), you're not setting out on a very good foot, but breaking this STINGY puzzle was satisfying, and after that initial clunker, there wasn't too, too much that was objectionable. It was a little boring in parts (23A: Closest to zero / LEAST), maybe, but not in a terrible way.
p.s. Favorite clue - 58D: Pull felt on Earth (ONEG).
Well, I was able to fill in many key clues right away which helped with my time. The "itsy" rhyme starts with "the," so I put down EENY first, which helped. I got ONEG, ASHES, ISOMER and STINGY pretty fast. BAKULA was well known to me and NOOK was easy. LITTLELEAGUETEAM and BASEBALLDIAMONDS filled in easily, too. Nice clue for 8A 1950s backup group with four top 10 hits COMETS and with OPAQUE, NATS, NYE and the two long clues, MAKEASTRONGCASE wasn't too hard to guess.I also quite enjoyed 66A Where to come to grips with things? MOVIESETS and re-learned that 46 Tarantula hawk, e.g. is a WASP. I thought this an enjoyable puzzle, but will probably not think that about tomorrow's.
Quite challenging for me. Avoided a DNF with a semi-educated guess of K at SKG (still have no idea what those initials stand for) and KALEL (maybe I'm starting to learn that one. Also, finished it without comprehending FOAM as "Head makeup." Had to read in Rex that it refers to beer. I suppose as a long-time beer drinker, I should have known that. (Even though I rarely drink beers with much head). Did you guys notice that this was an 15 x 16 grid? Interesting, huh?ReplyDelete
I didn't notice the 15x16 grid while solving. I think that happened twice in a short span recently. I don't know if this was the first or second time, or, really, if I'm even correct about that...ReplyDelete