Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013, Barry C. Silk


A lovely Saturday puzzle. Took us just about an hour, which, for us, is a good Saturday time. Good in that it is not too fast or too slow. And it was satisfying. Sure, there's an RST and an IERE here and a NOLOS there, but come on, there's tons of fantastic material, too. So let's get started, shall we?

My favorite of the ten-letter answers has to be PHONEBOOTH (28D: DC transformation location). That is a fantastic clue. As Frannie put it, first she thought of Washington, then she thought of a power source. And speaking of power sources, I also enjoyed SOLARARRAY (29D: Collection of green panels) even though the clue was positively pedestrian compared to the previous one. And BATTERYBOX (14D: Its contents provide juice) up in the NE, was pretty weak. The other two up there, LOOKATTHAT (12D: Head-turning cry) and ARRIVELATE (13D: Make a fashionable entrance?) (What about that question mark? I think it makes sense.) were both good.

As for smaller stuff, I loved OOMPH (25D: Juice) for the word that it is, and for its call-back to 14D. And speaking of "call-backs," the 11A: Sing (BLAB)/69A: Sings (NAMESNAMES) pair was quite good. Especially the latter. It was down in the SE that we ended (this morning, after putting it down unfinished last night). BROODMARES (63A: Important stud farm visitors) and ITALIANART (67A: Pre-Raphaelite ideal) just would not come. It didn't help that I had put in "males" at the end of the stud-farm clue, thinking that it might be right. It's funny that "male" and "mare" are just one letter off.

You know, I just looked up Pre-Raphaelite art, and I now think it is a good contender for worst entry in the grid. I mean, "Italian Art" itself, as an answer, is fine, but to say that it is the Pre-Raphaelite ideal is problematic. As I now understand it, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was rebelling against standards of art found in Raphael (an Italian) and Michelangelo (another Italian) in favor of the work of the Quattrocento period, which harkened back to the styles of Roman (ok, sort of Italian) and Greek (not Italian) art. So.... kind of confusing.

But let's not get bogged down. MUTED (36D: Like some colors and cornets) had a nice clue, and howzabout OTTOMAN (45D: Raiser of dogs?)!? Nice! Especially so, after the 40D: Grp. concerned with feeding the kitty (SPCA) clue. It was Frannie who got SINBIN (47D: Penalty box, to sports fans), which neither of us had ever heard, but which is funny. And I have always thought DARK (20A: Giving no performances) a wonderfully descriptive theater term.

Lastly, I looked up ERICAS (46A: Bell heather and tree heath). I didn't know the term, but was not too surprised to learn that it is a genus of flowering plants. We have nieces named Erica and Heather, and it is interesting to learn that their names are basically the same!

- Horace


  1. I don't really even remember doing this one. (I'm writing this the following Tuesday.) That tells me that it must have gone pretty smoothly. The one mark I see on my sheet is for the Horace-highlighted "Raiser of dogs?" Nice indeed. I will concede the Q-mark on that one too, but unlike our faithful blogger, I really don't like it or think it necessary on "Make a fashionable entrance?" ERICA is a crossword staple. You don't see it a ton, I guess, but the only place I know it from is Xwords. You're right about the mixed bag of long ones here. LOOKATTHAT and BATTERYBOX are woeful. What the hell is a battery box? ITALIANART could have been much better clued, even on a Saturday. Nice mention of MUTED: "Like some colors and cornets" strikes me as so elegant. INelegant is the clue for the lovely word BACKLIT. Isn't there any famous painting or photographic subject that is illuminated from behind? Illuminated from behind. What do you make of that phrase, Huygens?

  2. 1:09:23 DNF
    I like that phrase just fine. I didn't get BROODMARES (I had BROncMARES, whatever that would be), so I missed those crosses, too, but the rest of the puzzle went fine. Not a bad Saturday for me. I'd not heard of ERICAS, but it came in with the crosses, so I let it stay. And I didn't know that ARIONASSIS was 15A Olympic Tower financier. It's always nice to lear some things.