Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014, David Steinberg


A lovely offering from the wunderkind. Just lovely. When you can make the whole grid into a Z, and then stuff a symmetrical core of eight Zs into it (with no Zs anywhere else) (not that that's all that tough), then I'll put up with the occasional SERENEST, FOOZLER, and a few names I've never heard of (VEIDT, MINETA, & GAZZARA).

LOVED TONTINE (33D: Life insurance plan), which we know from The Simpsons. Grampa (the oft-seen Abe) was in a tontine with his old army buddies, and he won. I was thinking of "life insurance," like the kind you can buy, but living the longest means you win the tontine, so it's kind of insuring that you'll do what you can to preserve your life. Clever. Also liked EMBEZZLER (14D: Crooked bank manager, maybe), POSEURS (9D: Affected sorts), and OREGANO (4D: Purple-flowered perennial). We've got oregano. I've seen the flowers, but I didn't think of it until we had a ton of crosses.

CAROUSES (1A: Tears) is a very nice intro, and we thought Mr. Steinberg must have been happy to get PUZZLEOUT (26D: Solve) in there. Frannie enjoyed seeing one of her favorite movies - AUNTIEMAME (42A: Rosalind Russell title role), and it took me far too long to come up with BODEREK (20A: Actress in a best-selling 1979 swimsuit poster). I kept wanting Fawcett, Brinkley, or Tiegs. Mmm.... Tiegs....

It was challenging, but, as Frannie says, "You couldn't call this one a snoozzzzzzzze." Very nice work, Mr. Steinberg.

- Horace


  1. DNF! Well, maybe I could have done it had I really stared at the SW longer. But I hit 20 minutes and gave up. Which really goes to show how much more patience you and Frannie have to just keep banging your head against a puzzle. Seriously though, I had everything but about 10 squares in that SW. Perhaps if I'd ever heard of TONTINE... Both you and Rex Parker knew it from The Simpsons. Or FOOZLER? WTF?! PEEN is a fine crosswordy answer, but it's clued so vaguely. I had "sigh" for Eeyore's style, with "game" and then "gown" for the Ball ____ clue. I had Heave for HOMER for a while. And ERLE is also a longtime well-known answer with a completely out there clue. Apparently Erle C. Kenton directed such well-known hit movies as "House of Dracula, "House of Frankenstein," "Bare Knees," and "Nothing to Wear." Huh.

    That being said, the other 3/4 of the puzzle were outstanding. I loved the NW and SE corners. NOGALES and MEXICALI were a nice pair. They're about 5 hours apart by car. I was all prepared to just love EMBEZZLER, but it got so much better with that slew of Zs. And of course, AUNTIEMAME. That was a direct enter as soon as I saw the clue.

  2. About 90 mins. I didn't recognize the woman from AUNTIEMAME, but I filled it in with only the first M and the second E crossed. This puzzle was ridiculous for its inclusion of the obscure nonsense word FOOZLER and people like Conrad VEIDT and that MINETA person. I did love DEGAUSS and SEGA (great clue: 18A Genesis source) and also DIONE; even though Titan would have fit right in there and Huygens landed on it, I didn't fill that in since it's a Friday puzzle, after all. Orion could have fit in there right where DIANA belongs, too, but I didn't enter that for the same reason. Well, I guess it was fine, but there was too much obscure junk for me, even though I was able to finish it.

  3. God awful. PRENAMES might be the stupidest entry I've seen in five years. Absolutely dreadful. Why do I bother to finish this idiot's foozles?