Saturday, May 18, 2013

Saturday, May 18, 2013, Martin Ashwood-Smith


Epic. Double quad-stacks. Quite a daunting grid, and one we did not get very far on at all last night. It required at least an hour of combined, caffeine-driven work to break this one, but it was largely a satisfying experience. Just like a Saturday should be.

The first fifteen to go was REGULARGASOLINE (63A: Past pump preference). I was on the right track immediately, but "leaded gasoline" didn't fit, so I had to wait it out a bit. It was little gimmies that got us going. Foreign language clues like 15D: Quarter of doce (TRES), and 28D: Quarter of vingt (CINQ). Those and the "boy clues" like 51D: Porsche 911 model (TARGA), and 11D: Their caps have a stylized "C" (REDS). Still, though, it was slow going.

The top two fifteens we got from the endings of "credit" and "error," eventually working backward to fill in AVAILABLECREDIT (1A: What you may charge with) and PERCENTAGEERROR (16A: Indicator of how accurate a numerical guess is). But that third one was nearly the death of us. Frannie got DRAY (13D: Transporter of beer barrels) (an old draught horse, apparently, or the cart it pulls), and she had tentatively put in ERIE (12D: Language related to Wyandot), but we had also tentatively guessed at IOnE (14D: Captive of Heracles), and that held us up for a while. EGONS, too, (9D: Painter Schiele and composer Wellesz) could have been "Egans" as far as we knew, or really, "Egins?" Who knew? It was only when we took out all those third letters and just started throwing out French words that we finally ended up with ETENTECORDIALE (17A: Bringer of peace). Tough, tough, tough.

Some favorites: ANTITANK (6D: Like bazookas) (perhaps another "boy clue"); CEREAL (10D: Life is one); NACL (34A: Curing stuff, symbolically) (Frannie got this one somehow - maybe because we've stared making pickles and sauerkraut); OCANADA (39A: Northern game preceder); ONED (47A: Flat); and the nice, "kickin' it old school" clue for WALDO (23A: Not just another face in the crowd?).

Less than favorite: ICERS (4D: They might design roses) (nice try, but still, no), and SPOTTV (45A: Much commercial production) (really?). Also, too many proper nouns: EGONS, SAKI, KLAUS, YEATS, KAYE, EMIL, EGER, ILIE, INCE (?), MILNE (although we like any reference to the horrible Heffalump!). And what's with 65A: Information information for STREETADDRESSES? Is that the information you get if you call "Information?" Ugh.

Not a bad puzzle, and it was satisfying to finish it, but it certainly wasn't in our wheelhouse, and it certainly wasn't perfect.

- Horace


  1. Thanks for the feedback. It was definitely meant to be tough Saturday puzzle.


    Martin Ashwood-Smith

  2. Thanks for the comment Martin. As I wrote recently in a comment on our writeup of your puzzle of 4/13, I'm warming up to your puzzles, and I am looking forward to the next one. We love a challenge.

    - Horace

  3. Congratulations on another puzzle creator commenting on your blog (and not mentioning that his name was TYPOED (Keyed badly?)!).
    Anyway, DNF in a big way. I got a few, like REDS (surprisingly), PERCENTAGEERROR and TRES but I slogged on with this one for 53:40 and got not much further than that, so I gave up.

  4. Jeez, I hadn't noticed that. I fixed it now.

    Sorry, Martin.