Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014, James Mulhern


When I went through the clues for the first time, I feared not only a DNF, but that half of the squares might be left blank. Then Frannie took it for a while, and when I saw it again there was only the SE left to work out. And work it out, we did, but now I'm left without much of an idea about what to say, other than, I thought it would be impossible and then it was done.

Looking back at it now, I like seeing SAPPHIRE (31A: Star of Bombay, e.g.) in there, and UNUSUALLY (29D: Very, very) looked very very unusual when it was still mostly Us. I asked Frannie, who works in the library for the history of women in America, about HERSTORY (59A: Subject that includes women's suffrage and the Equal Rights Amendment) and she said that she had heard it, but that it is in no way mainstream. I guess maybe it's as mainstream as "womyn," which is to say, not very. "Very, very," maybe?... Still, it's fine on a Friday.

Also enjoyed OVERSHARE (17A: Elicit a "T.M.I.") (do we really need the periods there?), and ELSIE (53A: Old pitcher of milk?), but does any LADIESMAN (14A: He may have many lines memorized) actually use "lines?" Does anyone? Perhaps it's oversharing, but I don't remember ever using one without trying to be funny.

It was a fine puzzle overall, I think. Nothing too special, but a decent Friday challenge.

Favorite clue/answer: 44A: À gogo (GALORE).

- Horace


  1. Untimed, but around 75 minutes.
    I, too, thought this would be a mostly-empty DNF at first, but stared and then just took some chances, which paid off. I starred HERSTORY because I'd heard it but not in general use. Also, 28A Light on TV or Broadway (JUDITH) was a good clue/answer, though I'm no fan as yet. I also thought that 54A Next to (ALONGSIDE) was a fine example of a commonplace answer that is difficult. DISPERSAL is a nice word to have in the grid. I had ELvIs in there instead of ELSIE at first, but as far as I know there is no such thing as disperval or a geology unit of ason, so that was easily fixed. Favorite clue/answer: 36D Prod (EGG). Now that's a good "egg." No periods needed on TMI.

  2. 31:38 I enjoyed solving this puzzle. Definitely on the easy side for Fridays, but it had a lot of cool information in it. I especially loved all of the geography clues and answers: FIJI, GRENADA, GHANA, OSHKOSH, SOUTHBEND. I bet ladies men actually do use lines, although that was never my style. Agree, though, on TMI. The periods kind of kill the freshness and hipness of the clue. HERSTORY was great; love how the clue doesn't hint at all at a somewhat non-standard word. KIPS is a unit I have not heard of before. And speaking of units, 50-Across is another nice misdirection. I was thinking something like "Plate Tectonics" when I first read the clue, or maybe, after I looked at the squares, "soil." I appreciate this puzzle the more I look it over and think about it. Quality effort.

  3. 23:16. When I had little to nothing after about 10 minutes of work, I was, too, ready to despair. But the SE got me going. I guessed DELILAH, then put in ALES, guessed ASST, and figured out ALITO (was thinking of Ted Kennedy for a long time). I put mAKEASTAB first, and got HERSTORY, which I think is great, particularly since "feminism" would fit in the same number of squares. Love USEBY ("words before a date"), and MARINER is outstanding. For a long time I had only ESPY in the SW. Thought it might be JAMEScaAN instead of JAMESDEAN for a while - haven't ever seen East Of Eden. I'm surprised INDIAARIE doesn't make it into more puzzles. Look at all of those lovely vowels!

    Overall, this was an excellent Friday, challenging, and chock full of interesting tidbits and chunky answers. Good job.