Friday, January 3, 2014

Friday, January 3, 2014, Barry C. Silk and Brad Wilber


A nice, hard Friday. We fought this one all the way, but happily got through it. Clues like 2D: Record glimpsed on Norman Bate's Victrola (EROICA) and 6D: Certain rate-hike circumvention (FOREVERSTAMP) had us worried, but slowly the crosses fell, and each was inferable in the end.

Luckily, Frannie knew LIBRARIAN (56A: Profession for Laura Bush before the White House), and took a guess at ANASTASIA (59A: "Cinderella" stepsister), which helped us gain a foothold, and from there we climbed up the grid.

It's been a while since we've seen Barry Silk's name, and when we do we expect great things. Brad Wilber we have less of a handle on, but we'll be watching him more closely from now on, because this puzzle was lovely. So much great fill - IRONHORSE (15A: Locomotive), DONNAREED (17A: 1950s-'60s sitcom headliner), WIPEOUTS (12D: Many "Jackass" stunts) (do they really plan the wipeouts? or are they just a result of bad execution?), and BRAISE (42D: Cook, as swiss steak). Frannie didn't love YAWPS (10A: Complains loudly), and we'd never heard of AAFAIR (43D: Erle Stanley Gardner pseudonym), or the WYCHELM (24D: Common British Isles shader), but the crosses were all fair.

Speaking of the WYCHELM, there was quite a cluster of proper names over in that area, but again, nothing unfair. Even though we started with MAINline for MAINROAD (34D: Artery), and ONtarget for ONCOURSE (35D: Not going astray), things eventually worked themselves out.

This is just what we look for on the weekend, a puzzle that challenges. This one delivered.

- Horace


  1. 20:55. I agree, this one was challenging, but fairly so. I had bitohoney for 1A for a short time, but PETITFOUR is lovely. I had no idea what "salmagundi" was, but got it backwards after getting TONGUE, then PIDGIN. I love MIXTURE over STPETER, and GNOCCHI looks amazing in the grid. It may be themeless, but the two long clues both have VERS in them. On purpose? I also had MAINline first, but switched when I recognized the odious Ted CRUZ. NICOLAI Gedda was much more pleasant, reminding me of my old recording of Die Fledermaus with Dietrich Fischer Dieskau. MMM!

    Shout out to Hope for helping with the NE corner!

  2. DNF
    I filled in about 1/3 of this correctly (most of the south) and couldn't get the rest.