Saturday, January 4, 2014

Saturday, January 4, 2014, Kyle Dolan


Whew! Another toughie, and we ended up with several educated guesses, all of which panned out. The LY crossing of DJPAULYD (6A: "Jersey Shore" housemate's music-biz name), LENDA (11D: "____ Paw" (Oscar-winning Disney short)), and YATES (12D: "Eyewitness" director Peter), all of which were total unknowns, seemed somewhat likely. And the ON crossing of DIXON (55A: Predictor of fame)(?), SEACOAL (37D: Constituent of molding sand)(?), and ELAN (42D: ????? - the clue was cut off and unreadable in the iPad app) was based on the idea that all three looked like acceptable English constructions.

Even with all that uncertainty, we really enjoyed this puzzle. The clueing was, for the most part, fantastic. We loved ADORKABLE (4D: Like cute nerds, in slang), PACKRAT (8D: Keeping buff?),  SENTENCE (62A: Life or death), PATDOWN (40D: Touching scene at an airport?)(lovely), and VERSO (63A: Leaf part), to name but a small number. Had "circus," which we thought too easy, then "Binder," which we thought brilliant, before finally coming back around to BIGTOP (26D: Three-ring setting) - nice! you got us. -, and had "livingroOm" at first for THECAPITOL (50A: House meeting place). Hey, you've gotta start somewhere, right?

Didn't particularly like the clue for ARENT (61A: Lack life), and we suppose that MINSK (19A: Where Lee Harvey Oswald was a lathe operator) is a city in Texas, as well as Russia. [Oops! Nope, he actually worked in Russia. -H] I was thrown off by 1A: Like cork trees and flying lizards (ASIAN), because the cork trees from which wine stoppers come (quercus suber) are native to the Mediterranean area, but after a while there wasn't much else the answer could have been. I guess there is also a variety native to China, quercus variabilis. OK, that's fine. And there's a Phellodendron, or "cork tree" which is also native to Asia. OK! Enough already! It's a fine clue!

Anywho, a smattering of unknowns is normal fare (and fair) for a Saturday. We'd rather learn obscurities than suffer through horrible crosswordese or partials (I'm looking at you, LENDA!), and the clues were entertaining and informative (44D: European president who attended Harvard (CHIRAC)), so we're giving it a hearty thumbs up.

- Horace


  1. I'll admit to a DNF - perhaps if I'd had more patience I could have worked through the NE. I got the rest, but I was lost with too many bits of obscurities I couldn't LATCHONTO. GREATBEAR seems obvious now, but I had ursamajor first: funny that they both have the same number of letters. PACKRAT is brilliant. It took me a long time of staring at the clue and answer to get it. The clue for ELAN was "Animation," so that was okay. I don't get how DIXON is a predictor of fame either. I loved AUDITORIA and THE CAPITOL. DOS is a great answer for "buzzes?". Very well done puzzle. I need to develop my patience...

  2. DNF
    Isn't there some charlatan female named something Dixon that tells (or told) horoscopes? Anyway, the NE is where I got bogged down, too. My major mistake was of the ursa variety, and I couldn't get beyond it. I never considered MINSK, though I had the M and N filled in, so I had only DRANG and TASE and the incorrect ursamajor up there. I stared at this puzzle for many days, but finally TITT. So close....