Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday, May 2, 2014, Brendan Emmett Quigley


Mr. Quigley is making some tough puzzles lately. His puzzle in the ACPT this year really did a number on us, and in the beginning of this one I felt that same dread as almost nothing went in easily. He's in my head, man!…

So many things we didn't know today, mostly proper names. HENRIETTA (15A: London's ____ Barnett School) (are we supposed to know this?), NORAH (16A: News anchor O'Donnell) (or this?), LEANNE (26A: Fashion designer Marshall) (or this?), DOTTIE (32A: West of Nashville) (?), JONAS (34A: "Martin Chuzzlewit" villain), FIVETHIRTYEIGHT (35A: Silver screen name) (so named because there are 538 electors in the U.S. electoral college), ALLENDE (49A: Novelist Isabel) (Chilean, I'm guessing?), DAVE (54A: Actor Franco of "Now You See Me") (?), FIONA (60A: Female lead in "Brigadoon"), KIM (5D: 1901 Kipling book), ANDRE (10D: Physicist ____ - Marie Ampère), and VARDALOS (37D: "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" writer/star) (ok, we recognized that one, at least, but could not pull it out of the aether. That seems like a lot. And it doesn't even include other, somewhat obscure, proper nouns that we did know, like CHIRAC, LENAPE, and OLLIE.

But even with all that, we somehow finished. Of the long downs, I preferred ANOINTEDONE (27D: Messiah) (nice) to CROSSEDEYES (4D: Strabismus), but at least we learned the word "strabismus," which seems to be a more general term for any condition where the eyes are not properly aligned. I suppose "crossed eyes" is fine, because it's one possible manifestation, but we did not give such latitude to GRINNING (12D: Looking sheepish, say). One can have a sheepish grin, but just saying "looking sheepish, say" doesn't really seem to imply "grinning."

All that being said, I still rate this as an above-average Friday. We enjoy being pushed like this, and some of the clues were quite good indeed. 61A: They'll never hold water (STRAINERS), 17A: One who's not out all night? (INSOMNIAC), 31A: Ship captained by Vicente Yáñez Pinzón (NINA) (guessed it immediately, was happy when it panned out), 50A: Where one might take a bullet (STA) (excellent clue for mediocre fill), and 8D: Not this type?: Abbr. (ITAL) (ditto) were all quite nice.

Keep 'em coming Mr. Quigley!

- Horace


  1. Took me about 20 minutes. I forgot to start the timer again... so you'll just have to take my word for it. This is just about one of the most perfect puzzles I've done recently. ATIME got me my entry, and MLKJR helped fill out the middle of the N section, giving me INSOMNIAC very early (great clue!). JLO fit in nicely, but I also did not know ANDRE (although I recognized Ampere, of course) or LEANNE, so I proceeded to the middle, without much luck (got RED and RTE as a guess). VARDALOS stood by itself for almost the entire puzzle, and I questioned myself multiple times when I couldn't get a single cross off of it except FESTS, which I didn't put in until late. LOSS and KELPS led to PUTT and the excellent set of three long answers in the SE, but I was second-guessing myself when "Messiah" ended in -------DONE, until I realized it was two words with ONE. Another great answer! It opened up the NW when I totally guessed LEANNE off THEBEAST. FIVETHIRTYEIGHT must have been the key to the puzzle, finding a great current 15-letter answer is like gold to a cruciverbalist (14 letters there... hmmmm...). And another great clue on that one.

    I really have no complaints about any of the clues or answers. That's a good Friday in my book. "Looking sheepish, say" is saved by that "say." Once that's in there, GRINNING is an example of a way someone could look sheepish, and is acceptable. "Strabismus" is right up my alley, but I was thinking too technical with something along the lines of amblyopia. That's what you get when you've just come back from a Neurology conference...

    Also a shout to "Sooner or later": ADVERB. Excellent.

  2. 64:55
    First of all, Jacques CHIRAC is not obscure. He was a world leader often mentioned while he was PRESIDENT OF FRANCE! Second, all of the other proper names mentioned by Horace weren't too well known to me, but they were eventually gettable with crosses. I'm surprised that Horace liked ANOINTEDONE (which I did, too), since it's a religious reference, but it was an excellent clue/answer. I agree wholeheartedly with Colum on the GRINNING analysis, and loved the "Strabismus" thing because it was a word I'd never heard of but by implying crossing the answer was not too difficult to get with a few crosses. Finally, maybe Sandersoneggo would have known 54A Actor Franco of "Now You See Me" (DAVE). Great puzzle. Now, it's possible that I won't attempt the Saturday puzzle since I'm away (my new rule), but we'll see....