Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013, Elizabeth C. Gorski


Recently, we suggested that themeless puzzles might be a good idea on Wednesdays, and this is a perfect example of such an one. It was fun and fairly clean, but we absolutely shredded it. Frannie called it, by the way, when she saw Ms. Gorski's name. Either she's decidedly in our wheelhouse, or she's just too kind to put the hammer down for a weekend puzzle. Either way, our time today is lower than our Tuesday average.

All that aside, however, there was good and bad, as there almost always is. On the good side were BREAST (4D: Nursing locale) (tricky!), MINI (6A: Short shift?), and I actually kind of loved NOMSG (8D: Chinese menu words). It's because it's Friday that they didn't have to clue that as "Chinese menu wds.," right? Also, there's a lot of interesting trivia, like BOSC (1D: "The aristocrat of pears") (really? never heard that before), SUDAN (41A: Country that split in two in 2011) (I feel I should have known this, but we needed a few crosses), SIRI (60A: In Australia her name is Karen), and NELLE (62A: Harper Lee's given name). That last, by the way, led to our one error today. I put in "Belle" at first, because it seemed plausible, and because we had no answer for 50D: NASA's Gemini rocket (AGENA) (??). Soo... maybe an error undermines the contention that this was too easy, but I would argue that one difficult square does not a challenging puzzle make. Anyway, even with a little scrambling (B... D... N), we still finished quickly. (Also, if Frannie had been holding the puzzle, the B would not have been entered so hastily, since "Ageba" seems more unlikely than "Agena.")

In the "?" column were RITT (26A: "Stanley & Iris" director Martin), DEWLINE (47A: Cold war defense system), and HARAJUKUGIRLS (51A: Dancers known for their Japanese street-style wardrobe). Also, the aforementioned AGENA.

Lastly - TILTAWHIRL (28D: Carnival ride since 1927). Awesome.

- Horace


  1. 28 mins.
    Yeah, pretty easy. The AGENA is a pretty famous rocket in my circle. I hated seeing the full CELINEDION, but loved, also, BREAST. TUNAROLL always evokes great thoughts and memories. I starred 15A Au courant about (UPON) because I was happy that it wasn't an answer in French; 20A Coffee order (CREAMANDSUGAR) because the answer was so unusual; 34A B, to scientists (BORON) because I thought that David may know this one; 42A 22-Across subj. (REL) because that is too easy for a Friday; 60A (the aforementioned, by Horace, SIRI) because I've yet to see the same clue twice for that; 9D Relative of a raspberry (INSULT), which was excellent, though slightly off (ET59?); 12D Early "Doctor Who" villain (KAL), something DW related of which I'd never heard (it turns out he appeared with the first Doctor Who, William Hartnell); 27D Producer of cold cuts? (ICEAXE) because that was a great clue; 30D Ones going in circles? (ARCS) because I'd not seen such a good clue for that before; and 56D "The Mikado" weapon (SNEE) because I thought that all of you might know that one, even Sue. I like a puzzle that I can finish, so Good Friday!

  2. I agree that INSULT seems slightly off. It seems like a raspberry is a form of insult, not a relative of one. Frannie also loved ICEAXE, and I always want the full "snickersnee," but I'm starting to think I'll have to cram it into a grid myself if I ever want to see it in print.

  3. Hard for me to rate the difficulty since I was doing it late-afternoon while I was sipping on a couple of beers and intermittently falling asleep. Seemed fairly easy--except for the K between KIRS and the girls. That somewhat educated guess kept me from a DNF. The enjoyment factor is easier to rate: extremely low. No Friday challenge, very few cleverly clued answers. I mean, look at the long acrosses: CREAMANDSUGAR, MELTEDCHOCOLATE, and HARAJUKUGIRLS? Throw in CELINEDION and SALESROOMS, and I say you have a horrid clunker of a Friday. This puzzle was about as exciting as a KCAR! When "Producer of cold cuts" passes as quality cluing, I'm not impressed. Here is a partial list of crap: APAR, OPART, TSKS, NOLO, STNS, AIS (egregious for a late-week), PSI, UPON, REL, SEM, SHO, , and ITSME. Ugh. By the way, I did put a question mark by "Relative of a raspberry." Awful cluing. Would have been a great clue for "bird" or "finger."