Sunday, August 25, 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013, Frederick J. Healy


Miracle of miracles, we finished it! But for the first time since this blog began, we are a day late in posting, because we didn't finish it until this morning, when we sat side by side and worked it out together.

In our defense, we were both preoccupied yesterday by preparations for a large gathering at our house, and during that gathering, we handed the puzzle to a friend to look at, to see if he could add anything to the, at-that-time-little-filled-in top section. He didn't, but probably sat looking at it for about an hour. In any event, once the party was over, and our heads cleared a bit, we got it all to come together.

Looking at it now, things like TAKENOPRISONERS (20A: Be ruthless) seem so obvious, but almost none of the Downs came easily. STEINMART (9D: Chain of off-price department stores) (?) Never heard of it. TOSSDOWN (9D: Guzzle) ... would have preferred "gulp down." ETHAN (2D: Brand of literature) Never heard of him. NOOKS (3D: Where seekers may find hiders) ... tough.

In short, we had troubles up there. I think it was ONCUE (18D: As if scripted), and pure guesses at GHANA (10D: Home of the world's largest artificial lake) and FOSSE (13D: "Pippin" Tony winner) that finally allowed us to get the necessary toe-hold. 

The entire bottom, by comparison, was done fairly quickly, partly because 53A: Dual diner dish (APPLEPIEALAMODE) was just in (almost) last Friday! OK, it was just "Pie a la mode" and it was clued as "Hot-and-cold menu item" by Dana Motley, but still ... it rang a bell and went right in. And once that was in, SPARETIRE (28D: Likely result of excess 17- and 53-Across) (almost a Satruday theme!) seemed somewhat obvious. (It didn't help enough for us to get 17A: Malted alternatives, right away, though!) 

Loved STENOPAD (35D: One bound to hold notes?) and AUDIT (49D: Tax burden?), but I'm not entirely sure that the clue for RAKES (11D: Ground crew gear?) needed that question mark. 

We had a tough time with this one, but it was very satisfying to finish it, even a day late. Perhaps circumstances made it a bit tougher than it otherwise would have been, but really, it's hard to say. 

- Horace


  1. This one came together fairly quickly and easily for me. I think the first thing I put in was GRAF, which I got by process of elimination working through golf and tennis. Then I wrote in GHANA on a strong hunch, and the rest fell into place from there. NOOKS, I didn't think, wasn't tough as much as it was weak. Some poor three-letter fill included ONS, YAY, MFG, and the over-used TSK. One three-letter one I loved, though, was SAM, "One of the muskrats." Delightful bit of nostalgia. I too questioned the need for a Q-mark on "Ground crew gear." Also not needed on "All the best," or "Start of a phobia," if you ask me. "Tax burden" does need one, as does "Pair of word processors."

  2. Not fast, but done. Definitely over three hours. Who'd have thought that box 1 in a puzzle would be an X? Unlike H&F, I finished the top second after getting the east filled in, then it was clockwise from there. I also never heard of ETHAN. The last to fall was the west, but when I was finished and looked up (successfully) GROK, then I knew I had it! It wasn't in the rather poor dictionary on my desk, but Wikipedia seemed to know what it is. I loved 22A Pair of word processors? (CUTANDPASTE). The question mark was necessary.