Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014, Erik Agard


Lots of great fill today - ASPECTRATIO (20A: 16:9, say) (the first thing entered into the grid), PANOPLY (13D: Splendid array), SLEW (26A: Raft), UNWIELDY (12D: Hard to handle), SCOUR (46D: Comb), STREAKS (1A: Goes quickly after takeoff), and STREWN (18A: Randomly distributed), to name just seven. The two "bow" clues were both quite good - COX (21D: Sportsperson who may take a bow?) and VIOLAS (43D: They take bows), and we liked the three French clues, too - ENTRE (9D: Word with deux or nous), LAIT (39A: It might be found in a cafĂ©), and ENFANT (44D: Terrible one?). I guess you could also count 40A: Legerdemain (MAGICTRICKS). We both tried the more literal "sleight of hand," but no dice.

We found the intentionally misleading punctuation in 30A: Some nerve! (OPTIC) unusual. It's not often that they do something like that. I guess they treat those differently from question marks. Or, more likely, they treat Saturdays differently from the rest of the week.

Didn't love OARERS (59A: Galley slaves, e.g.) or HOF (53A: Cooperstown inst.), and SODDY (32A: Nobelist Frederick ____, pioneer in radiochemistry) is completely unknown, but I guess Nobel Prize winners are all fair game, and the crosses were all gettable. And hey, one of them was SNL, which I just mentioned yesterday as a crossword darling. And speaking of recurring themes, isn't it funny how this Hamlet clue 5D: Hamlet takes a stab at it (ARRAS), also goes with our conversation of this past Monday about the answer "FATALLY?"

Let's see, what else… we thought the theme was both a little light and a little weak. CTR in the middle of four answers, two of them being slightly off-puttingly commercial? Well, ok. I guess it's fine. Did you happen to notice that "What Not To Wear" (it ran 2003-2013) fit in perfectly where PROJECTRUNWAY (33A: Fashion series since 2004) belonged? I did.

Lots to love in this one, and not much SLOP. Thumbs up.

- Horace


  1. 22:26. I put ASPECTRATIO in third, after ARRAS and ENTRE. I was pretty sure KEDS was right, but I didn't put it in for a long time, which held up the NW from being finished. Worst crossing answers: CLAMATO and OARERS. I have no idea what the former is (turns out its tomato-clam juice, and now I know why I had no idea what it was), and the latter is not a word. Literally. If you google it, nothing comes up with the meaning the puzzle implies. Yuck.

    Other than that, I loved it. Great trivia at 3D: Judges 14:14 has the only one in the bible (RIDDLE). I'm not sure the clue for POWERS is strictly speaking meaningful - I don't know that anybody who plays D&D would refer to the attributes of their characters that way, but I guess it's acceptable. I liked VIOLAS, QUIRRELL, and ANGINA. Good steady work for a Saturday puzzle.

  2. Oh, also, "Some nerve!" made me laugh out loud when I finally got it (all from crosses). I've finished teaching my residents about all of the cranial nerves. I should have gotten it sooner, but the nerve of the constructor to clue it that way!

  3. Untimed, but under an hour.
    QUIRRELL is not known by me, but I got it with the crosses. The clue for SLEW (26A Raft) was very good, as is the COCACOLA / DIETSODA pairing, although I drink neither, ever. I'm not familiar with the show that Horace mentions, but I got PROJECTRUNWAY immediately. Colum, if you think CLAMATO is disgusting, how about mixing it with Budweiser? That's a thing, commercially available from Anheuser-Busch. Awful.

  4. And let's not forget "Beefamato," which adds beef stock to the ensemble. Emmmmm….etic!

    1. Well, what else will they think of that I won't ever try?