Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014, Patrick Berry


OK, I'm going to come right out and say it - Patrick Berry is my favorite puzzle constructor. His grids are oddly shaped, thick, largely junk-free, and intelligently and entertainingly clued. The three big thirteens today, CAMERAOBSCURA (30A: Provider of early projections) (love it), GOBIGORGOHOME (34A: Catchphrase that encourages extravagance), and CRESCENTMOONS (35A: Sky hooks?) (The question mark is justified there, I think), are all interesting and totally valid. Other long stuff, CYCLOTRONS (6D: Spiral-shaped particle accelerators), PENDULUMS (11D: Swingers), and PROPCOMIC (5D: One with a thing for laughter?) (great clue!) are all good, too.

In fact, you have to look kind of hard for anything to complain about. I suppose you could think about balking at the comparative form of WEIRDER (22A: Not so normal), or the relatively obscure INIGO (17A: Queen's chapel designer ____ Jones), but really, they're both valid. I suppose you could play the "crosswordese" card and call out OAST (56A: Brewery apparatus) or REESE (58A: Teammate of Robinson), but again, they're not the worst. The first is clued almost apologetically, and the second is given a more interesting clue than it usually is.

I'm glad I got CABS (6A: Much-hailed group) immediately, otherwise I might have been tempted to guess "dylan" for SEGER (9D: Bob in the Songwriters Hall of Fame). Bob Seger? Really? I would have thought he was "running against the wind" trying for a spot in there. Heh. And speaking of misleading clues, 36A: "____ fly through the air with the greatest of ease" (HED), was one where I recognized the song, but I didn't think of the verse in the past tense. I actually thought of it as being sung in the first person for a while...

I could go on and on citing the good parts - STREAKERS (50A: They run out of clothing), OEDIPAL (20A: Like some unhealthy relationships) - but I'll leave some of the discovery to you.

If there's one criticism I could bring against Mr. Berry's puzzles, it's that they don't last long enough. I finished before Frannie even got a chance to look at it, but, luckily, the iPad can be erased!

A great Friday.

- Horace

1 comment:

  1. 1:23
    Well, it lasted long enough for me. COEDDORMS (30D Buildings often segregated by floor) took me a little time (at first I thought "hospitals"), as did PEKES (41D Furry toys) and 44D Rounded items? (BASES). The NE went quickly (and first) for me, but then I bogged down. I loved the clues that Horace mentioned, in addition to 25D Needs (DEARTHS) and 28D Overbearing types (DOGMATISTS). 49D Get behind something? (HIDE) was a good, tricky clue, also. A solid, enjoyable Friday.