It's finally time to call out Julian Lim as one of our favorite constructors. He's been a bit of a sleeper in this blog, I think, but today I looked back at our past reviews of his puzzles (there have been several Saturdays), and he has been consistently praised. Today will be no different.
MARIONETTE (31A: One being strung along?) is excellent fill with an excellent clue. GOTORACKANDRUIN (35A: Decline dramatically) is lovely. DERNIERCRI (29D: Newest fashion) and AGNI (30A: Lambs, to Lucius) are some next-level language fill, and DURIANS (20D: Southeast Asian fruits with large, thick spines) was fun, and it went right in thanks to my brother who is now living in Singapore, and who has willed himself (I believe) into actually enjoying the "aromatic" fruit.
Good stuff is everywhere. MATRIARCH (31D: Mother superior?), VACUITY (27D: Empty-headedness), RELIGIONS (9D: Service providers?), DIETCOKE (54A: Mixer for losers?) (hilarious!) … even lowly abbreviations are made interesting, like TUES (32D: It's named for a Scand. god of battle) and OSHA (3D: Org. that, when spelled backward, is an old-timey exclamation) (!). "Old-timey," … ok, Julian...
I'm not totally crazy about ABOUTTURNS (37A: 180s), IDY, or RIAA, but those are a small price to pay for a puzzle this enjoyable and this solid. Excellent work.
24:40, although I'll call it a FWOE, as I mistakenly entered LAZEe at 13D, and not recognizing my misfill, then entered ACTIv for 12 down, figuring veY made more sense then ieY. Silly error.ReplyDelete
What an excellent puzzle! I too put "last" in at 1D immediately, figuring it was a Saturday, but it didn't take me long to realize it was wrong. MYPRECIOUS was an easy entry, and when I put APOGEE in next, I realized my first instinct of NTHPOWER was right, and "last" went away. I found the corners easier than the center; the NW, SE, and NE went in order, and I had the E and W filled as well before I could crack the middle. Part of the problem there was that I had entered ABOUTfaceS, which is better by far than ABOUTTURNS, but as you said, how can you complain when you have that excellent MARIONETTE and MATRIARCH, VACUITY (which might be my favorite entry), and RELIGIONS (great cluing! "Service providers?" Brilliant).
I loved the formality of the clue for 38A: Title subject of a search in a 2003 film. I'm a parent of children who were small then and was still thinking documentary. ABOUTTURNS feels made up.
I had a few trouble boxes in the NE, but enjoyed the puzzle nonetheless. 17A Exponential unknown (NTHPOWER) and 19A Cause of a stinging breakup? (TEARGAS) were fantastic. I, too, filled in DURIANS right away for the same reason as Horace. And what about the excellent 49D 0.5, for 30 degrees (SINE)? And VACUITY is also a great word. Lots to love here.