Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014, Alan Olschwang


I found this one tough, but I liked it. I started things off and got precious little, then I handed it to Frannie and by the time she handed it back, there were only a few problem areas left. I filled them in, mostly, but when I went to hand it back, she had fallen asleep, so I was left to fend for myself with the pesky left-brain question 10D: Mathematics branch associated with fractals (COMPLEXANALYSIS) (beautiful fill!). I was missing the L and the X, and 25A: Magazine Industry's equivalent of a Pulitzer (ELLIE) was no help at all. I had guessed "ELsIE," and sort of convinced myself that "CompSetAnalysis" could be a thing, but I couldn't understand 35A: Vet (EXGI) as "EtGI" for the life of me. All I could think of were animal doctors and the verb meaning to carefully examine. If I had carefully examined the word a little more, I might have come upon the important third meaning, as an abbreviation for "veteran." Oh well. I looked around the whole grid for a while, and then fell asleep myself. In the morning, Frannie took one look at it and finished it immediately. That's why we're a team, dammit. I'm going to see if Will Shortz will let us compete together somehow next year at the tournament... 

Anywho, as I said, I thought this was pretty darn good. Lots of fifteens, but not in an overly aggressive way, and they were all solidly real things. I've never heard of THENOONDAYDEVIL (3D: 1985 Ralph McInery novel), but I'm sure others must have. I have, of course, heard of COMPLEXANALYSIS (and Mandelbrot, FWIW), and I've done some complex analysis... but not the math kind. Hah. Other things I didn't know were SACHA (59A: Gervasi who directed 2012's "Hitchcock"), RON (12D: Jockey Turcotte)... and is ROTOS (47A: Old paper parts) meant to stand for "rotogravures?" As in, "On the avenue, Fifth Avenue, the photographers will snap us/And you'll find that you're in the rotogravure?" Lastly, I assume also that ENTR (40A: Start of an intermission?) is the start of "entr'acte." I get it, but it's a bit of a stretch. Frankly, I almost prefer IIN (20A: "Am ____ France?": King Lear) as fill. Oh, and one last complaint is that YESES (15D: Many nods) only has one S, when I prefer two. I know the tide is changing ("travelling/traveling, shovelling/shoveling" etc.), but "YESES" just looks so wrong.

But even with all that grousing, I stand by my opinion that this was a good, challenging puzzle. Very little of the stale kind of crosswordese, and lots of good, long fill. I guess I'll take weird fill like IIN and GOTAB, over stuff like SETT, ARA, and ETUI. Et tu?

- Horace


  1. 34:05. Very tough puzzle, completed with help from Hope, so you're not alone in working together... um, as it were. I think I like the three 15s going down better than the quad stacks we sometimes see. Which really makes no sense, I suppose, but it felt better. Loved the clue for LEEDS (Its natives are called Loiners). I had no idea, but those weird British Isles folk have the craziest names for natives (Liverpudlians, Glaswegians). The clue for YER is also very nice. Good 15s, nice fill, overall an excellent Friday.

  2. 76:54
    Boy, everyone gets help but me. COMPLEXANALYSIS is probably not something that Horace would enjoy. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that I finished this one. If three of the longer answers are USEDCARSALESMAN, LEAVINGTHESCENE and LIVEDANGEROUSLY then I have. If not, it's a DNF. Was 63A Unlikely bruiser SISSY? I suppose that I could just look up the answers.... I like 60A Shake in an opera house (TRILL).

  3. I think you might mean BEATINGARETREAT, but the other one's look good. ANDROMEDASTRAIN was also one I thought you might like.

  4. And Colum, we enjoyed the Leeds clue, too. And I agree about the vertical stack, although I can't really pinpoint just why either.

  5. Oh, one more thing - I just ran into SISSY as fill in a puzzle from June, 2012 (We're going backward in time when we want another puzzle to solve), and I think the clue was "Macho, he's not."