Saturday, February 1, 2014

Saturday, February 1, 2014, Will Nediger


Never really felt comfortable in this one, but still it flew by. Took an educated guess on 1A: Her 1994 memoir has the chapter "Desert Storm" (BARBARABUSH), Frannie pulled ERICAKANE (30D: TV antiheroine for 41 years) out of the (BROADCAST) air (waves), and I remembered the name ERIKSATIE (13D: Composer of several "Gnossiennes") with a few crosses, and with that kind of long fill in place, things just started to fall.

The SE corner was a total crapshoot. ESTES (45D: Business fraudster Billie Sol ____) (never seen anything other than ____ Kefauver, or ____ Park, CO), WAYNE (46D: General who won 1794's Battle of Fallen Timbers) (?), and MEW (44A: Persian language unit?) (??) - those are all pretty tough. And nevermind the questionable MISDO (44D: Screw up)…

The cluing overall seemed more obscure/esoteric than tricky/clever, and that doesn't really make for the most pleasurable solving experience. KOLN (48D: Severinsbrüke's city), AVI (5D: Prefix with culture), AQABA (2D: Great Rift Valley port), and EMILNOLDE (36A: Member of the German Expressionist group Die Brüke) (two umlauts in one puzzle!), are all fine, but not really exciting. Add to that the BEFOGs, the MISDOs, and OBES, and, well, … meh.

On the bright side, we enjoy the mention of Lewis CARROLL (33A: He wrote of a "vorpal blade"), KITES (38A: Sky boxes?) was nice, and any Simpsons reference is ok with us - MOE (26D: Dispenser of Duff Beer). The last box we filled in was the X of EXMET (40A: Strawberry, for one), because Frannie had figured out FLEXTIMER (32D: One whose shifts shift), after which, we had what we now refer to as a "Kitwo moment." This refers to an event that happened recently when we solved a puzzle with Colum Amory. The clue was "Peak on the Pakistani-Chinese border" and the answer turned out to be KTWO. The three of us spent a few moments saying "Kitwo?" out loud to one another, until Colum, I think, finally said "K-2!" That's what happened today, but for a briefer moment. Frannie and I said to one another "Exmet?" until one of us finally said "Ohh… ex-Met!" Ahh… puzzles. Or is that Aah… puzzles… HAH!

OK, that's all for today.

- Horace


  1. 55 mins.
    The MEW refers to the cat, a Persian, I believe. Anyway, I starred KITES as being clever, 8D Old Sony format (BETAMAX) as being a missed medium, though not so much after DVDs, BluRays and now, streaming, MOE and 49D One may be fingered (PERP) more for its clue than for its answer. This was a quick Saturday for me, even with the KOLN/KLEIN/ESTES and WAYNEs. With BETAMAX, I was able to get EXFOLIATE (31A Use pumice on, perhaps) right away, and with FLEXTIMER, which I got immediately (I am one, but not in the sense mentioned), I was able to fill in the EX which led me to Mr. Strawberry quickly, though I needed crosses to get the MET part (not surprising, perhaps, to ET59). There were some tricky bits, but a Saturday in under an hour is a rare triumph for me.

  2. Ahahahahaa… Persian cat… that's very good. I like this puzzle more now because of that.

    What a silly bunt.

    1. Didn't you guys have a Persian, Horace? Mittens or muffen or something?

      I started with BETAMAX (industry knowledge) and the "B" 4 from the ended had to be a Bush, particularly with UNIFY next to it, although I'll concede I started with UNITE. From there BARBARA was easy enough. NW and SE were the last areas we finished, but I did laugh when I figured out MEW.

  3. Took my mother and me under 20 minutes, thanks to her knowledge of EMILNOLDE (although we weren't sure of the D), Melanie KLEIN, and Billie Sol ESTES. She also got BETAMAX, which sadly made me revise EmolLIATE to EXFOLIATE (shades of Pirates of Penzance for the former choice). The SW and NE were entered quickly on my own, and I enjoyed the HAMOMELET (always a favorite entree) and ERIKSATIE. I assume the puzzle is a pangram, given the multiple rare letters. I'm never sure if that's something a crafter should aim for; certainly not at the price of poor answers. I loved EXMET and MEW; those were the only two answers to make me rethink what the clue was asking for.