Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014, Ian Livengood


I gave the time, but really, we finished with an incorrect letter and spent some time hunting for it. Turns out, "InKS" had been entered for 11D: Needles (IRKS), giving "TERnELL" for 16A: 1998 N.F.L. M.V.P. Davis (TERRELL). Such is life.

Overall, I enjoyed this one, even though I tend to dislike a "quotation mark" clue - and this one had plenty! The first, at 1A: "Know what I'm sayin'?," in hip-hop slang (YAHEARD) was probably my favorite, even though I was not aware of its existence as clued. FRAIDSO (8A: "Yep, alas"), too, I can't really complain about, but having them both one after the other kind of rubbed me the wrong way. But then Mr. Livengood got back on my good side with the mention of an OPENBAR (15A: Feature of many a reception).

I suppose the quotation marks are ok, though, for what is really a very colloquial-seeming puzzle. CACKLED (18A: Laughed menacingly), SCRUNCH (23A: Squeeze) (Frannie wanted "skwunch" here), AAHED (30A: Sounded wowed) (I tried "oohed" first), and NUTCASE (62A: Crank) are all quite informal. Come to think of it, so is SLEAZEBALL and its clue 13D: Scuzz. Appropriate, then, that we should also find DELTAHOUSE (12D: Campus spot for Bluto, Otter and Boon) (it's funny to me that the NYT is such a stickler about many things, like the spacing of an ellipsis and the periods after initials, but they don't use the Oxford comma!) in the grid as well.

It was a clean grid, the occasional OON, AZO, and GEO notwithstanding. We enjoyed the cuting-up of the two Latin clues, and there were some fun ones, too, like FIREHOSES (27A: Things that wind up on trucks), and the too-too-obvious TEAMSPORTS (39A: Football and basketball). EYEBATH (63A: Certain solution holder) was gross, but STPETER (64A: Figure in many a New Yorker cartoon) was oddly and amusingly clued.

Overall, a thumbs up.

- Horace


  1. 28:04 (DNF)
    That's the time that it said when I got the "Puzzle Completely Filled" message, which is the Across Lite version of "you've got at least one letter wrong." It turns out that it was the same as Horace InKS instead of IRKS. I didn't know this TERRELL person and the alternative made just as much sense to me. I agree that OPENBAR and DELTAHOUSE were great, but I also loved IASIMOV (which I should read, I guess) and ASTRONAUT, though I'd never wish to be one. Another of my favorites, DRSEUSS was in there, too, and I filled it in with no crosses. ooHED would have been a much better answer for 30A (I filled that in first, too), and will no one mention 14D Motherland (OLDSOD)? Have we ever heard that expression? My favorite quoted clue was 8A "Yep, alas" (FRAIDSO). I didn't like the word SIOUAN (37A Like many Plains Indians), though; something just looks odd about it.

  2. 27:27 (DNF). Like Huygens and Horace, but for different reasons. I knew TERRELL and got IRKS, but I just couldn't see STPETER for the life of me. I also very much disliked the SW where AKAHITO, SAVALAS, GILA (?!), BORAGE and the unpleasant SETAT all crossed each other. The rest of the puzzle moved much more swimmingly. Took a long time to see GELCAPS, as I wanted laptoPS, thinking of iPads rather than medications. I liked REJOINS, IASIMOV, FIREHOSES, and CACKLED. Did not love RAPGROUPS (unnecessary plural...)

  3. 22:42
    This one kind of just flowed for us. TERRELL was the first thing I put in, noting the Broncos Super Bowls runs of the late 90s. DELTAHOUSE was the next thing I put in, remembering something else! Actually, I've been joking with mon fils about the founder's statute at the campus we've been frequenting lately, noting how it reminds me of Faber's "Knowledge is Good" motto. He thinks that sounds very funny. I hadn't known that Telly Savalas was nominated for an Oscar (I do remember his role in Birdman of Alcatraz), although it makes sense that Kojak wasn't his big break. Now that I look at it, he had a very long and prolific career. We don't think that Bob Costas does much play-by-play anymore; indeed, it's been quite a while.