Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday, August 16, 2013, Dana Motley


OMG. Let's consider first of all the clue 24D: Summer symbol? You see that and you think of flowers and birds, and maybe beach-related items, and eventually, when you get five or six crosses that you feel good about, you realize that the answer is PLUSSIGN. It is then that you realize you are solving a puzzle created by a different... a deviant mind. Another example might be "9D: Reagan was seen a lot in them." You think of movies, articles of clothing, newsreels, but the answer is EIGHTIES.

This puzzle was devilish. PREEMPTED (32D: Broken into on TV?) is another crazy-looking answer.  We had _REE... for a while and all we could think of was "Free" something. The divided double-E is genius.

We were looking for tricky clues from the get-go. Franny plunked down BALLERINAS (26A: Ones keeping on their toes?) without crosses, and I did the same with ONIONRINGS (17A: Circular side?), but others took almost every cross and then some. The toughest intersection might have been IRIS (55A: Color also known as endive blue) (really? By whom?) and PROSES (43D: Talks tediously). That's not a definition for "prose" that I was aware of, but it is the seventh entry for the word in my Random House, so, well, ok then. I'm not up on my tiny units of measure, either, so MIL (57D: 254,000 angstroms) took two crosses and a guess.

All my complaining aside, however, this is what we expect and, indeed, want from Friday and Saturday puzzles - a struggle. Thanks, Dana Motley, for an hour and a half of challenging enjoyment.

- Horace


  1. 45 minutes
    Tough, but not devilish, IMO. Things seemed to click in this puzzle for me, though I agree with Horace about the EIGHTIES and PLUSSIGN clues. The words ending in vowels other than an "e" were a bit tricky in the middle east (SAFARIS, RODEOS and BIO), but it seemed fine and easier for me than most Fridays.

  2. Nice time! Sometimes a puzzle just isn't in one's wheelhouse and sometimes it is, I guess. Even though it took us a while, it was still a fun one!

  3. Agreed (about the "wheelhouse" comment and the fun). BTW, when I enter a time like that (i.e., "-- minutes") it indicates that I've timed via my phone or an analog clock. For example, on today's (Saturday's) puzzle I marked on the sheet my start time of 11:45 and my end time of 12:36 and subtracted to get 51 minutes. When I put exact times, I time myself using a stopwatch, which I don't always have with me. Finally, sometimes I start timing but if the puzzle takes a ridiculously long time over several days I give up the timing and just am happy to finish the damned thing. In that case I don't enter a time and mention something to the effect of how difficult the puzzle was and how it took me a very long time to finish it.

  4. Understood.

    The only reason we are able to post an accurate time every day is that we solve on the iPad, which times it for us. If I were doing them all on paper I would never be so organized as to solve with a stopwatch handy.

    I'm ambivalent about the whole timing thing anyway, as you may remember. My original intent was to give ordinary solvers (by that I mean those who typically take more than three to ten minutes for the weeklies) a more ordinary exemplar. Except for the occasional Monday, we are rarely solving "against the clock." We solve at a leisurely pace, often discussing clues, sometimes distracted by a passerby, or another conversation, and sometimes drifting off to sleep. But the iPad clock keeps ticking, and at the end, we record what it says.