Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saturday, June 28, 2014, Josh Knapp


A fun Saturday puzzle that fell almost too squarely into my wheelhouse. APRICOTJAM (1A: Tangy fruit pastry filling) went in immediately, perhaps because we had so many such pastries in France not long ago. And AZERBAIJAN (17A: Georgia's neighbor) came immediately to mind as well, not because we have been there, but because I have finally learned to think outside the U.S. when I see a state-like clue in a late-week grid. ("Minnesota neighbor," for example, is much more likely to be "ONT" than "WIS" on a Saturday. It took me a while, but I'm there now.) Anyway, things just kept falling. PRIAM (41A: Father of Paris), DOGE (46A: Ruler with a palace near St. Mark's), TORREY (47A: San Diego's _____ Pines, site of the 2008 U.S. Open)… all went in without hesitation. Even GUITARSOLO (15A: There might be one after a bridge) (considered "last chorus" for a bit), TEE (44A: With 51-Across, end of the London blitz?) and ZED (51A) didn't take too long to see through. And haven't we seen KAFKAESQUE (60A: Bizarre and alienating) somewhat recently?

I was dialed in. Perhaps the one downside was that it was over so quickly. There was no time for TEAMWORK (40D: Company asset). But still I enjoyed it. XRAYVISION (12D: Superpower) was good, MEOW (56A: Cry over spilled milk?) was cute, and NOME (20A: City whose name is pronounced like the natives' word for "Where is …?") was interesting to learn. I wondered briefly if there were a "DovĂ©, Italy,"  (probably not) or an "Ouay, France" (possibly).

The hardest thing for me to see today, and the last thing completed, was BADSANTA (27A: 2003 Billy Bob Thornton crime film). That's a tricky clue for a hilarious movie.

Lastly, the upside of this being so easy was that we were then able to go back and complete the Saturday that we missed while we were away (6/14). I liked this one, but that one was even better! I'm going back to see what Colum had to say about it now.

- Horace


  1. 15:08. I agree with the ease on this puzzle, but I think we just had our Saturday thinking caps on. Almost no missteps in the creation of this grid. I had zero for RIEN, which was funny, because there was a Z right there, but in PUZO instead. TSINGTAO was great; BFLATMAJOR was fun because I didn't know the key, but knew it would be _FLATM____, and then I guessed the B from BADSANTA and knew it had to be MAJOR rather than minor (which would be a tough key for an orchestra to play in). I had MoOo for MEOW for a while. I like the clue for DELTA (was thinking perioral, but way too long). I'm not sure that AIRPASSAGE is a thing, but I didn't mind. Great puzzle.

  2. 20:55
    APRICOTJAM, GUITARSOLO, AZERBAIJAN... Pretty good start. It took me longer than I'd like to admit, but I filed in JOJO with no crosses and those Js really set the stage for the NW. I certainly didn't know about NOME, but JOJO and ALAMO (Anne got that) made it was pretty obvious. Anne also got ASIF (54A: Valley girl's "no" - her era) and that single cross locked in _FLATMAJOR. From there, B and E were the only realistic options and E not so much with the crosses.

  3. Untimed (but fast, probably <40 minutes)
    I stared at it for around fifteen of those minutes, but then just filled stuff in. Starred were APRICOTJAM (I thought Horace would get that right away) and GUITARSOLO. BADSANTA went in after a couple of crosses, and TORREY Pines was immediate (we were just out there recently). CDCASE (49D Obsolescnt media holder) was somewhat sad to me, but 63A Solstice time (JUNE) was not, though it was a bit obvious for a Saturday. Finally, the CABANA (5D Changing place) just went out in the water on same day!