Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday, May 16, 2014, Martin Ashwood-Smith


It's our old friend "Cordwood," going a bit easy on us today with just a central quadstack. Other bloggers may complain, but he's found his niche - why not ride it for a while? Stacks are a part of crossword-puzzle life, and you might as well embrace it, right? 

We finished this in a little over a half an hour, but it wasn't right. We spent another twenty minutes or so looking for the mistake, and finally gave up. Well, I should probably say that I gave up - Frannie almost never does. I looked it up, and found that we had SEiSE instead of SENSE (50D: Pick up). I guess I had convinced myself that "seise" was a Britishism or something. I think I even tried ROzY at one point. But the mistake wasn't in the S, it was in the I. ISiT had been entered pretty confidently for 58A: "Who ____?" (ISNT), and we still think "is it" would be more common in that phrase, but, well, we're also aware of the other phrase - who isn't?

In other areas, it's always nice when you can get one or more of the fifteens right off the bat. Today I got WHATEVERITTAKES (39A: At any price) without any crosses. Well, I had "whatever it costs" first, but it was quickly righted. (I also got LETITBLEED without crosses. Not a fifteen, but still nice.) The lyrics in 38A: 1959 hit with the lyric "One day I feel so happy, next day I feel so sad" brought back a distant memory, but I needed several letters before the familiar ShaNaNa version of TEENAGERINLOVE came fully into my head. And now I've been singing it all day, thank you very much, Mr. Ashwood-Smith!

I liked the non-Ilie Nastase clue for ILIE (14A: Paradoxical assertion, perhaps), and HST was also saved by its clue (23A: He called the U.S. pres. a "glorified public relations man"). COASTTOCOAST (20A: Like some long flights) was good, as was its sister answer TETEATETES (38D: Heart-to-hearts). Frannie remembered that there was a reeve in the Canterbury Tales, so that helped over there, since SPEE (29A: Admiral who bombarded Tahiti in 1914) was a total unknown. 

Overall, a pretty nice Friday quadstack offering. We should maybe have figured out SENSE, but, well... we don't mind a DNF now and then. Keeps us humble.

- Horace

p.s. There's a lot of discussion today (in the crossword blogosphere) about how "TEENAGERINLOVE" is overused as a fifteen in puzzles. Well, perhaps, but I, personally don't remember it being used before, and besides, the song brings back old memories, so I don't mind. Also, in his commentary on today's puzzle, Mr. Ashwood-Smith imagined a possible fifteen - SORTONESONESOUT ("Do a cashier's job, maybe") - which made us laugh and laugh. If I ever do get it together and construct a grid, I am going to steal that.

And finally, if you're out there, Martin, we'd certainly have preferred the alternate grid, since it didn't include the dreaded ISNT!

1 comment:

  1. 75:19
    I, too, almost never give up, though sometimes I have to. SPEE was unknown to me, too, and I originally put SmEE in there, thinking that maybe Barrie used a real name, but I could not remember anything from my studies of the brain that ever called a neuron MULTImOLAR, so that was quickly fixed. I'd heard of XHOSA, but needed a few crosses, and there was the requisite amount of tough fill. I'd never heard of 47A March Madness, with "the" (NCAAS). Does anyone refer to that in that manner? Also, of course, I needed four of the five crosses to get 22A Part of une fraternite (FRERE), but all-in-all this was a worthy Friday puzzle. HOSTILETAKEOVER is my favorite in the stack, but they were all great.