Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014, Barry C. Silk


Whew! What a difference a day makes! Much of the SE fell quickly, but everything else took a long, long time to come into focus for us today. When we had "_ _ _ _ NXL__E" for example, I thought we had a mistake for sure, but Frannie all of a sudden said SPHINXLIKE (31A: Enigmatic), and finally we were getting somewhere!

As usual with a Barry Silk puzzle, the fill is high-quality. The NE and SW corners are tight, and contain some of the weakest stuff today (KTS (18A: They often land next to queens: Abbr.) (strained, I think), and UEY (59A: 180) (We've seen this a few times, but we're not digging it)), but we'll suffer that without too much grousing in exchange for POOLTABLE (32D: Shark's place), HUDSONBAY (33D: Polar Bear Provincial Park borders it), CORNCOBPIPE (1A: It's made from an ear and put in the mouth), ANCIENTROME (58A: Forum setting), OKEECHOBEE (28D: Locals call it the "Big O"), and DANUBERIVER (54A: It's between Buda and Pest).

Frannie enjoyed TEACOZY (42A: Knit at a social function), and we both groaned at PURR (8D: Himalayan production), but in a good way. Really.

I don't know who ELSA (41A: Orphaned lion of literature) is, but I did remember AMAH (34A: Nanny, in Nanjing) and ISAO (9D: Golfer Aoki), so that helped a little.

Not the most exciting puzzle, maybe, but a nice challenge for us today.

- Horace


  1. Loved this puzzle! Seemed on the easy side for a Saturday: I didn't time it, but I finished it at the kitchen table in what must have been a relaxing 45 minutes, or so. I dug all of the ones you mentioned. Also had "Move a whole lot" starred. What's up with GIGAflop? I'm assuming I'm just not quite hip enough to have heard that coinage. Not bad, though.You neglected to call out SANMARINO in your geographical roster. That was nice to see too, wasn't it? Hey, ELSA is from "Born Free." Get to know her! I flipped through my copy of "Their Eyes Were Watching God" but I didn't see any "Big O." Just a lot of "De lake is comin!" and a couple of metaphorical references to a monster, but I have no reason to doubt Mr. Silk, whose puzzles I always enjoy. This just has so much quality: "Herder from Wales,"(which I got immediately, being a dog guy)"Live warning," "86," "Higher-up," and "Jam" just to cite some terrific cluing across the top. I suppose it helps that this is the first day of my spring break and I'm in a great frame of mind, but even adjusting for that bias I still believe this is a top-notch effort.

  2. Yeah, Silk is always good, and the cluing was very clever today. And yeah, you probably are too out of the loop to know of gigaflops, but forget them, they're passé. It's all about the petaflops nowadays.

  3. 55:21
    I was worried after reading all of the clues in the north and not filling anything in, but I went down to the south and went right to town, filling up without much trouble. I starred CORNCOBPIPE and SPHINXLIKE as being particularly good. Also, 37A Supply one's moving address? (ORATE) was a great clue for a common answer. 13D Every second (ALTERNATE) was fantastic. 50D Highlander of old (INCA) was another great clue for a common answer, and 46D Not just wolf down (SAVOR) had me thinking more along the lines of "scarf" or similar answers. I loved ITERANT (39D Repetitive) and PURR, and I was thinking that David may have known 23D O's is one more than N's (ATNO).