Saturday, November 9, 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013, Michael Ashley


Mr. Ashley, you had me at BUTTDIALED (1A: Made a seat-of-the-pants error?). Just consider, for a moment, the difference between that kind of a 1A, and yesterday's "riatas." Night and day, I tells ya. All the ten-stacks are chock-full of interesting, unusual fill. ONARAMPAGE (15A: Rioting), BOBSLEDRUN (13D: Winter Olympics sight), CASSIOPEIA (60A: Mother of Andromeda), SMARTPILLS (65A: Nootropics, more familiarly)... all of them, very nice. The weakest set was maybe the SW, which is where we ground to a halt. I was completely stumped by ENIDBLYTON (29D: "The Wishing-Chair" series creator), but, fortunately, Frannie got RETD (58A: Like many a gen.) (that totally stumped me!), and then pulled the author's name out of her hat. She also fixed the mess I had created in the NE by entering "jIBE" instead of GIBE (11A: "Your mama wears army boots," e.g.) and "jaw" instead of GUM (11D: Where a canine sits?) (OK, I guess so, but I really would have preferred "jaw," or even "jawbone."). It was the terrible-looking "anos" and "wobs" that troubled her. Left to my own devices, this would have been a DNF, but Frannie pulled us out of the hole and we're back on track!

I've never heard of OLY (51A: Classic Northwest brewski), and I didn't know that SAC (20A: Eastern Woodlands native) referred (I guess) to a Native American tribe, but the most interesting answer today, for me, was TIDALBASIN (17A: Washington, D.C., has a famous one). First of all, I didn't realize that that body of water was tidal, nor that it was partially man-made. Further, upon reading about it on Wikipedia, I learned the story of former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Wilbur Mills, and his contretemps with Fannie Foxe, a stripper, who ran into the tidal basin after the car they were in was stopped for a traffic violation. The couple is referred to in the lyrics of a song by the Blues Brothers ("I Ain't Got You"), and I have heard it many times without knowing who they were. Now I do. It's funny how that happens, isn't it? I heard a lot of references in songs by Tom Lehrer, and skits by Monty Python, before I knew what they referred to or who the people were. I guess it even happened sometimes in the Warner Brothers cartoons. Heck, it still happens in The Simpsons...

Where was I? Oh yeah... I prefer the "double-a" naan to NANS (32A: Tandoori-baked fare) (mmm... naan....), but I also prefer a SALOON (48A: "Gunsmoke" setting) to a salon. So, there you go.

Favorite clue: 3D: Cry frequently made with jazz hands (TADA).
Least favorite: 57D: Din-din (EATS).

- Horace


  1. Untimed.
    EATS was poor. I liked the double 14D They use blue books (ESSAYTESTS) and 38D They use Blue Books (CARDEALERS), and is 52A Charlie's land (NAM) allowed? Also, 50D #2 pop (PEPSI) had me stumped for awhile. My favorite may have been BUTTDIALED (I've never done this). Finally, I'd put in yacht both Sails for 49A Marina sight before finally entering SLOOP.

  2. This one was a real bear for me. I finally finished today after printing and starting it a couple days ago. I too love BUTTDIALED, but like many of the longer ones, that certainly didn't come right away. Horace, OLY is Olympia Beer. It is indeed a venerable brew. I've only had it once or twice, and not in ages. One-A NANS is quite lame. That's a dumbing down, isn't it? Nice to see the etymological clue for EGIS. Huygens, I had "#2 pop" highlighted. Nice clue! Also marked "One working in a corner in an office" and "50% nonunion." Had a bunch of write-overs in the southwest and a couple elsewhere. Good, solid, tough Saturday. Just the way I like 'em. Also, doesn't "imbecile" always make you think of The Three Stooges? [Why don't they let you edit these comments?!]

  3. The stapler clue was nice, and this time, for once!, I actually got ENS before all the crosses filled it in. Maybe I'm finally catching on to that type of cryptic clue!

    And yeah, imbecile is great, and yes, it does make me think of Moe.

    I don't know why the comments are uneditable. I don't think it's a setting I can adjust. Maybe it's to keep people from flaming each other, since there's no going back other than deletion. Who knows?