Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday, December 8, 2013, Patrick Berry



We had no idea what was going on with theme while solving, but after we saw the "Well Done," we took another look, and once we got it, thought the gimmick somewhat mind-blowing. What are there, ten of them? No? Twelve? And they all work pretty darn well. Take 24A: Pitch that fixes everything? (CUR[V]E[B]ALL). "Curveball cure-all." It's brilliant I tells ya. "Simon LeBon Simoleon?" What the ...? How do you think of that? "Maelstrom Maestro!" "Branded Brain-dead!" We've said it before and we'll say it again (hopefully) - we like this Patrick Berry fellow.

The rest of the puzzle was pretty fun, too. ACE (4D: One-hit wonder) was beautifully clued, as was CARPET (97D: Pile on the floor). OSPREYS (63D: Fish hawks) is a nice word (some complain of gratuitous plurals, but I don't much care), and WESTBERLIN (30D: Site of a 1963 J.F.K. speech) is good, long fill. And speaking of old politics, wasn't "ILDUCE" one of the best dictator nicknames ever? Enjoyed the two "Blue expanse" clues, but I tried "sky" for the first one, and then when I saw the second one, and that it also had three letters, I left them both empty for a while.

There were a lot of threes, but none of them offended me, and there were a few abbreviations (CMON, THEYD), but again, they seem perfectly all right. Was it just us? Are we blinded by our fondness for the constructor? or did you, too, quite enjoy this grid?

- Horace


  1. Maybe I've gotten spoiled, but somehow I expected another level to the theme, which probably would have been incredibly hard to do. The grid filled very fast for us (my mother, Cece and myself), so that it probably took about 25 minutes or so. The best was the two theme answers on top of each other in the NE and SW corners. Didn't love GASAHOL. Did like ANDRES Segovia and ILDUCE. Oh, and ABBA was a nice way to start the Sunday morning.

  2. 55 mins.
    When I could immediately fill in ABBA, I knew this would go quickly. Unlike Horace and Frances, I got the theme right away with LIB[E]R[T]ARIAN (22A Employee at the Ron Paul Archive?). The rest of the theme clue/answers fell very easily, though I agree that it was overall brilliant. I thought that Horace would mention 125A Trader _____ (JOES), but he didn't. I found MORONS (6D Thick bunch?) a bit harsh, and loved both ILDUCE (yes, the best dictator nickname ever) and SIMO[N]LE[B]ON. What about AMY (90A "Man of Steel" actress Adams) being in the puzzle?

  3. I fall somewhere in between our fearless leader and commenter Colum: While I do appreciate the cleverness of the theme, I too wanted something more, either for the circled letters to spell out something or for the circles to affect the down answers somehow. Funny, at first, I didn't think 53-Across quite worked. A MAESTRO isn't specifically a creator. I was thinking of the two words separately, I guess. And I was being a bit too literal. But then when I read it as MAELSTROM MAESTRO, and I considered it further, I thought it was one of the best clue-answer combinations. I thought MORONS for "Thick bunch" was brilliant. The harsh one was BRAINDEAD for "Labeled idiotic." I know Berry is not using the literal definition of "brain dead," but how often do you really hear that term to refer to idiots? How about TONELESS for "Like a robot's voice"? Does that really work? Wouldn't "expressionless" be a better answer to that? While I'm at it, does STRETCH make sense for "Overextend oneself?" Why the "over"? Liked BRILLO for relative of S.O.S. And, finally, I'll make it three in support of ILDUCE for best dictator nickname. Reminds me of a comedy act I saw in Chicago many, many years ago. The guy was talking about how he was thinking about a name for his penis. His two finalists were "The Punisher" and "El Diablo." Maybe "Il Duce" could have been a contender. Funny what sticks in your memory.