Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014, Michael Ashley


We had fun with this one, even though neither of us follows NASCAR, or listens to any of the music listed. My favorite might be WONTGETFUELEDAGAIN (27A: "Hey, what did you think when you missed that last pit stop?" [The Who, 1971]), but IKISSEDAGRILLE (42A: "Did you do anything for luck before today's race?" [Katy Perry, 2008]) is just absurd enough to be funny. I guess the theme was fine.

The general fill started off very well with 1A: Coping mechanisms? (SAWS) (Ha!) and 1D: Only Literature Nobelist to also win an Oscar (SHAW). That's some interesting trivia! (The former was general, the latter was for Pygmalion.)We enjoyed the wordy clues for CITIZENKANE (114A: Movie with the line "Old age. It's the only disease, Mr. Thompson, that you don't look forward to being cured of.") and THEFLEA (7D: Posthumous John Donne poem that includes "It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee"). I would have gotten that last one without crosses, I think, but I didn't know it was posthumous.

There was a ton of small stuff that looked terrible - ELO, ENOL, SSE, GHI, XER, SST, OSU, LPS, OMS… and some long stuff that was less than stellar - NEEDER, IKONS, ENORMHITAT, EMAILER… but, oh, I don't know, I didn't mind it all so much today. I was consoled by nice fill like DOGGEREL (44D: Almost any poem that starts "Roses are red …"), NOTDONE (89A: Unacceptable to polite society), STEAMER (70A: Soft-shell clam), and SCOUTMOTTO (76D: "Be prepared").

We didn't know OREL (86A: City SSW of Moscow) or, sadly, TIRANA (71D: European capital) (got to learn more about Albania!), so we finished with one error, but everything else went fairly easily.

I'm a little distracted today, but I guess it was fine.

- Horace


  1. ENCRUST (96A Cover with a hard outer surface) threw me, as did the greatly-clued crosswordese ABET (117A Lend a dirty hand to). 40A Fanny (REAREND) is good Huygens fill, and it was nice to see Casey KASEM crossed with SMOKEY Bear (not "the," as I recently found out). CASTASPELL (57A Perform some magic) got me thinking pleasantly of Willow of "Buffy" fame, and anything from CITIZENKANE is all right with me. All-in-all, I enjoyed the puzzle. It took around 45 minutes or so to complete, but I didn't time it. STEAMER took almost all of the crosses for me to get, BTW, and it shouldn't have.

  2. Well, I really disliked this puzzle. A slog from beginning to end. I liked IKISSEDAGRILLE best of the theme answers, but LIVINGLAVEHICLELOCA? I don't think so. BRAKEONTHROUGH is banal. And way too much awful fill. Subpar Sunday for me.