Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014, Sam Ezersky


I love a puzzle that we start late at night, that we both take a stab at, and that we eventually have to finish in the morning. That's what happened today. That NE corner was intractable for a good long time. Then the "ym" ending appeared and HOMONYM (14D: Cache for cash, say) (we should know better!) dropped in, then we tried BAM (18A: Sound of a slug) and HIBACHI (12D: Literally, "fire bowl") came clear, and finally, somehow, DCON (28A: Brand of bait pellets) (wow. I had pretty much written off any chance of getting this from the beginning) came to me, and that was the lynchpin for ENAMORS (13D: Doesn't just attract). Whew!

Great stuff everywhere today, starting with BBQSANDWICH (1A: Something that goes from a pit to your stomach?). Very nice, that. Things like BLISTERPACK (60A: Pill holder), PARTI (53D: Epic start), and LAKEONTARIO (65A: Member of a "great" quintet) seem so obvious now, but they did not come easily. And I quite enjoyed the dismissiveness of ITSMAGIC (38A: Unhelpful reply to "How did you do that?") and HEH (12A: Snarky sound).

On the down side, there's the odd DRYFARM (45D: Raise crops on the Plains, maybe) - is that a thing? - and INO (16A: Queen of Thebes, in myth). You know, I've been reading the Oedipus trilogy, which is partly set in Thebes, and I'm pretty sure INO hasn't come up yet. And last Saturday we had "Her poison killed Creon" (MEDEA), and although Creon is king of Thebes during part of the Oedipus story, I haven't yet gotten to his death. How many of these damn classics am I going to have to read before I know all this stuff?!?

Where was I? ... anyway, there's a little of the necessary, crosswordsy stuff in here - who the hell is EDEL (22D: 1963 Pulitzer winner Leon) (cruel, really, since this was right during Leon Uris's heyday, but no Pulitzers for Uris) - but not too much, and there's tons of stuff that we really liked. A very good Friday.

- Horace

p.s. Frannie wondered aloud whether GARP (31D: T.S. of literature) were a Robin Williams tribute. Let's all agree that it is.


  1. DNF (27:07). That NE corner did us in! No clue about DCON or EDEL, so that cross was a complete guess, and after trying about 7 different letters, we revealed D. I love the rest of the puzzle. INO was in a recent puzzle as well, but I forgot her already. LAKEONTARIO should have been easier, but I couldn't think of the Great Lakes (I was stuck on the Russian Five, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Cui, Mussorgsky, and Balakirev). Ted Perlman, Hope's father, gave us EZERWEIZMAN. I had about 3/4 of the puzzle done in 10 minutes, but the rest eluded me. Ah, well.

  2. DNF
    Same story. We did the entire west and center in about 15 minutes and then spent the next 40 trying to figure out the NE and DRYFARM!! I went to college in the midwest and have never heard of DRYFARM, although Wikipedia has a thorough entry for the technique. And what the heck is HEH? Pft!

    That said, we did like HOMONYM and HIBACHI (we and the boys just went to a place with the knives and the fire and had a fine time). But those answers seemed in stark contrast to the rest of the puzzle, most of which seemed rather benign: BBQSANDWICH? meh. TRAINSIGNAL? meh. (BTW, the conductor doesn't drive the train, he/she collects tickets. The engineer drives the train.) Meh. (Way snarkier than HEH, isn't it?)

  3. DNF (74:59)
    I didn't know EZERWEIZMAN or a couple of the crosses, but before that, I did something I had not previously done: I "Check word"-ed 12D because I put in volcano and didn't know any of the crosses so I didn't want to waste my time. Well, of course, every letter was wrong, so that's a DNF. On the plus side, I, too, loved BBQSANDWICH and BLISTERPACK. I'm a big fan of DCON and, for Huygens fill, with different cluing, we have DEEPTHROAT. A fine Friday.