Saturday, February 22, 2014

Saturday, February 22, 2014, Evan Birnholz


Well, we lit it up again this morning. Got ALCHEMISTS (1A: Ones who think things are good as gold?) and PIRATESHIP (15A: Feared sight on the Spanish Main) right off the bat, and then it was off to the races. Relatively, that is. I know there are folks who will finish this grid in under ten minutes, but for us, a Friday/Saturday combined time of under 50 minutes is startling.

Frannie didn't love RESOW (48D: Plant in subsequent seasons), I didn't love AREAR (52D: In the back), and neither of us was familiar with SALMI (53D: Game stew), but these are, I think, small prices to pay for such a nice grid as this.

On the quality side, we've got BLACKMAGIC (33A: Art that uses curse words?) contrasting with ARCHANGELS (61A: High spirits?), and a SAMARITAN (13D: Do-gooder) competing with a BADEGG (55A: No-gooder) and a DOMINATRIX (67A: Whip wielder) (Huygens alert!). HAYSTACKS (4D: Frequent Monet subjects), LIPREADER (34D: One getting messages by word of mouth?), and even WIDERIGHT (37D: Like some missed field goals) are all good.

The NE was where we ended up today. We were slowed considerably by two errant guesses - my "rArE" for BASE (11A: Like metals used by 1-Across) (I couldn't have been more wrong) and Frannie thinking a little too big with "Ship" for SEMI (18A: Big long-distance carrier?). The crossing composers, the TV reference to a show we don't watch, and the tricky James Bond trivia (AMERICANO (12D: First drink ever ordered by James Bond)) didn't give us much to go on. I think we got in at the bottom with WATT (37A: Volt-ampere) and COMEUNDONE (42A: Fall apart), and then climbed up from there.

All in all, a very nice Saturday.

- Horace


  1. I concur. This thing, while quite a bit easier than I like them on Saturdays--was very pleasant and filled with smiles. I too had "Art that uses curse words" and "No-gooder" marked. That latter one makes me think of Sue, which is always good. My first entry was HAYSTACKS, then BLACKMAGIC, and then the whole western hemisphere filled in quite nicely. Funny, I also finished up in the NE. I feared the dreaded DNF at the intersection of EMIRS and VEY, but I wrote out the Yiddish phrase with both an A and an E, and fortunately the latter looked better to me. So much good stuff in here. I've always liked the idiom COMEUNDONE. Loved the Bond trivia. Here's another bit of trivia: Do you know who was snapping on the most famous WIDERIGHT in Super Bowl history?

  2. Well, since I only know one long snapper by name, I'll guess Adam Lingner.

  3. Took about 20-25 minutes. I agree this was easier than usual for a Saturday, but with excellent answers. Today the SW was the hardest for me. Couldn't find RISKSIT for a long time, and I wanted Akron, Ohio for the location of the convention, even though the K wouldn't work with the K in HAYSTACKS. I entered the puzzle quickly with the cross of the two composers (DVORAK and ERIKSATIE). Love the Wire reference. I agree that AREAR should have been nixed. I'm sure they could have come up with something else.

  4. I didn't get PEE until I read Rex Parker's blog. That's a nice clue, because you could go with PEa easily; instead it refers to the second letter of "split". Very clever.

  5. ~1:00
    Yes, the PEE was tricky and great. I, of course, starred DOMINATRIX, got ALCHEMISTS right away, which allowed a quick finish to the NW, and the two composer crosses took care of the NE. SNEE makes another appearance, as do ERNS and IRAS, but I guess that's OK. I, too, thought of Sue with BADEGG, and let her know about it. She took it just fine.