Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013, David Woolf


OK, now we're back on track. Not the trickiest of Fridays, but a good one nonetheless. Highlights for us included HOOTCH (41D: Still-produced stuff), PANGEA (45A: It broke up in the age of the dinosaurs), and, of course, NOONER (47A: Midday assignation, in slang). Wow, Will, wow. [*slow clap] The little mini-theme is cute, too. Who knew SODIUMPENTOTHAL (9D: What an interrogator might administer) was spelled that way?! Well, probably at least one of our readers did...

Had "hilt" for HAFT (4D: Foil feature), and we know TATARY (13D: Vast historical region controlled by the Mongols) better with two Rs. We'd never heard of OSCARWAO (15A: Novel title character with a "brief, wondrous life"), nor NIIHAU (16A: Hawaii's Forbidden Isle). The Wikipedia entry on the latter provides interesting reading. It is the seventh-largest of the inhabited Hawaiian islands (are there larger, uninhabited ones?), and is, apparently, privately owned. Who knew?

Nice to see the SEAOTTER (37D: It has the densest fur of any animal) again. He was last seen and commented on in the July 26 puzzle. ANYHOO (42D: Slangy seque) always reminds us of The Simpsons, and IDIOCY (20A: Three Stooges display) segues nicely with some of our recent comments.

Some junk (ACUTER (51A: More pointed), ABT (44A: Co. led by Baryshnikov in the 1980s), and LIA (55D: ____ Fáil (Irish coronation stone))), but even those aren't too bad. Oh, and HAPS (41A: Unlucky accidents, old-style). Huh?

- Horace

p.s. The Diary of a Crossword Fiend blog mentioned that this is Mr. Woolf's debut in the NYT, and it also links to his sister's blog wherein she says that one year he went to a Halloween party as a crossword. He made an actual crossword and wore it, so people could solve him. Awesome.


  1. DNF because of "heft" instead of HAFT. I am embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of OSCARWAO, but I read now on Wikipedia that it won the Pulitzer. So humbled, I believe I will pick it up next time I'm at a book store and read it over Thanksgiving break. I suppose I should have realized that "Oscar" would make more sense than "Oscer," but as I said, the whole thing was so foreign to me . . . and I did this on the can in about 20 minutes before bed last night (Welcome to the blog, Colm). But, yes, Horace, it was pretty good. I too had IDIOCY marked. Damn, ya gotta love the stooges. Well, if you're a dude, anyway. How can you not include ASONEMAN in your list of junk. Absolutely awful answer. And speaking of things you've never heard of, isn't KARSTS in there too. I suppose maybe you know it (and I suppose I should know it) since our Dad is a geo prof, and all. RANDR might be offensive to some, but I thought it was well clued. The clue for PILEUP was a little overstated, wasn't it? Plus, I don't like the editorializing of that one. Does Flanders say "Anyhoo"? I seem to remember that. Fun fact indeed about the wily SEAOTTER. Liked this one. Hate the DNF and maybe a tad too easy for a Friday, but I liked it.

  2. Recently learned "karst" in a New Yorker article about Florida sinkholes. And I think Homer says it more than Flanders, but several have, including Burns. Agree about PiLEUP, but I didn't hate ASONEMAN as much as you. Come on, it's not unheard of or anything.

  3. (around) 11 minutes (not timed because I did it on Saturday). I enjoyed this one much more than the rest of the week. I knew OSCARWAO off the bat because Hope hated it and couldn't finish it. I misspelled SODIUMPENTOTHAL, even though I should have known better, but corrected myself when oLLIANCE didn't make sense. IDIOCY was good, as was STRUCK, although I'm used to that sort of clue by now. I wished that 17A had tied in with 8D and 24A to finish off the theme. Still overall a well-done puzzle.

  4. About an hour for me. I am very familiar, of course, with NIIHAU (Ni'ihau). We saw it directly from the SW coast of Kaua'i. Sue and I had the chance to go over there, but it was pricey and we wouldn't be allowed to move around too freely once on the island, so we opted against the side trip. I'd not heard of KARSTS. 29A Some are soft-shell (TACOS) had me stumped for a little bit since I was thinking of crabs, and I suspected that 27A Early-millennium year (MII) wouldn't be MMI, so I left it blank until I got the cross (SOCIETY). I also enjoyed 35D Drifting type (VAGABOND). I agree with everyone that this didn't seem too tough for a Friday.