Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013, Martin Ashwood-Smith


These quad-stack puzzles are always a little daunting, and when FFF (22A: Blasting, musically) was the first solid thing I put in (I couldn't really believe that the simple, obvious and weird ODE was correct for 21A: Suffix with electr-), I was even more worried. But the bottom went better than the top, and by the end I just plunked down puTSONAPEDESTAL (57A: Idolizes) (soon corrected), and things were looking up.

On a Friday, to me, "things were looking up" can mean having a smattering of disconnected, possible answers, which is pretty much what I had when I handed it over to Frannie. (No side-by-side solve today.) When she handed it back, there were only four or five squares left! Leave it to her to know CHANSONSDEGESTE (56A: Old French epics) and STURM (28A: Tempest, to Theodor). And she very much enjoyed "24A: Bay, say ... or bring to bay (TREE). One of the only things left for me to help with was AXL (33A: ____ Rose), and as soon as that A was in, she called out RANK for 26D: What stars may indicate. In a perfect world, she'd be doing this review, but she's away at a conference, so you're stuck with me again.

These seem like impressive feats, these stacked puzzles, and the cross fill has to be challenging. Today's is decent enough, I think, although why, I wondered, would you clue MEAT with "50D: Sinatra's "Meet ____ the Copa"? It's weird that "meat" rhymes with "meet," but why not just clue with "Flesh?" or "Steak, say" or anything, really, that isn't a partial? Is it just to get Sinatra in there?

I liked SILVERAGE (32D: Second-greatest period in the history of something) quite a bit, and MONIEDMEN (5D: What Hamilton called the wealthy) is a nice term to know. Lastly, nice clue for ORES (14D: Sought after rock group?).

Decent Friday.

- Horace

p.s. The "Crossword Fiend" blog (see sidebar) tells me that MEAT was clued as a partial so as not to duplicate the "meat" in "mincemeat." Fair enough, I guess.


  1. Interesting tidbit about MEAT. This was a fun challenge for me. I filled in the bottom two-thirds fairly quickly, but got bogged down a bit on the top. IMGAME was a key for me. These quad fifteens are indeed impressive. I usually like them because the 15s are almost always fairly common things, and usually if you get a few downs you have a chance at the long ones. I loved "'I'm ___' (Friday declaration)" I thought this was a very good Friday. I see that some folks on Rex are complaining that it wasn't a fun solve. I think that's ridiculous. All nine 15s are legit, the downs through them are almost universally solid, it was challenging. What more do you want?

  2. 1:17:25 DNF
    Well, a bit too challenging for me in the NW and in a couple of other squares. I got the TREE and AXL area pretty quickly, as well as all of the 15s except for the French one (I had CHANSONSDEtEnTE. How I couldn't see SILVERAGE is beyond me now that I look at it. I mean, I'm only missing the G! Well, whatever. Close, but no cigar, as they say.