Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014, Mel Rosen


Boy, two great puzzles in a row! This one was nice and tough, too, and it took a combined effort to finally slay the beast.

I like the tricky clues for usual fare, like 31A: Composers of some rhapsodies (ODISTS) (ok, it's usually just "ODE," but I'm still counting it) and 34A: Cousin of an agave (ALOE). 7D: Old dynasts (TSARS) and 12A: Rebel in a beret (CHE) don't really count because they were still pretty easy. CHE was so easy, in fact, that I kept thinking that it must really be something else, because it is Saturday, after all. But no.

Loved the clues for DOCENTS (42A: They often provide illumination in galleries) ("windows" also fit) and DANGS (31D: Alternative to shoots?) (I had "hangs" in there briefly, which kind of grossed Frannie out). And I was thinking of 17A: Diet, e.g. in the right way for a long time, but still didn't come up with CONSULATES until we had a ton of crosses. I guess I was thinking more "governments" or something.

Frannie finally came up with MRROARKE (10D: "Fantasy Island" host). I don't know how she remembers this stuff. And coincidentally, the "Space Seed" episode of Star Trek was on one of those retro channels last night. We watched a bit of it.

Nice timing, too, on the COLBERTBUMP (1A: Popularity boost due to a certain TV endorsement). I wonder if this puzzle was rushed into the lineup by Will Shortz, hoping for his own Colbert bump.

Lastly, PYEDOGS (11D: Stray mongrels)? What's up with that? The Free Dictionary says it's from a Hindi word, pahi, which means "outsider." Huh. Well, that's part of the great thing about the Saturday puzzles - you often learn a thing or two. Like who knew two famous explorers both had the first name VASCO (29D: Balboa's first name) (wasn't it also DaGama's? Yes. Yes it was.).

A nice, challenging puzzle with very little (ACC, SELA, URU, ASCI) to complain about. Lovely.

- Horace

1 comment:

  1. 2:06:24
    Very difficult. I knew MRROARKE right away, but had to get some crosses to spell it correctly. I originally put in rocky instead of VASCO (wasn't it Rocky Balboa?), but I got DARKSTARS (even though this is meaningless) and VIRGIL quickly, so that made me erase the error. Most of this actually fell relatively quickly for me, probably in under 45 minutes, but the whole CONSULATES/OAR/MAOSUIT/ATOI crosses messed the NE up, and the middle west was slow going. Once I plugged in ASIAGO, though, the remainder slowly dawned on me. I hate to give up, and I'm glad that I hung in here with this one. I wouldn't have if I didn't have it mostly filled in, though. This was a satisfying and tough puzzle.