Saturday, November 8, 2014

Saturday, November 8, 2014, Barry C. Silk


Whew! We haven't worked this hard on a puzzle since, well, maybe last Saturday… but before that it had been a long while. It went slow and steady until we were left with a huge void in the NW. So many things that just did not come to us easily. Perhaps New Yorkers quickly entered BLOOMBERG (17A: Notable switcher from Democrat to Republican to Independent), but to us living (just) outside the metro area, and who do not follow the news directly, it took about five crosses before it came into focus. TWO/IRON (4D: With 22-Across, obsolescent club) was tough with no crosses, TET (19A: Offensive observance?) - tough, ROOTOUT (3D: Get rid of) could have been "rout out" "edit out" "void out"… and so that only helped a little… and maybe astronauts got EARTHRISE (1A: Up-coming world phenomenon?) right away, but we tried "volcanoes" and "lava floes" before being forced into the proper entry. IPECAC (7D: Drug used in aversion therapy)? Tough! Not being familiar with "aversion therapy," we had "prozac" in there for a while, which didn't help. In all, that corner probably took us close to an hour.

But I'm not complaining. We love a good challenge, and this certainly was satisfying to finish. It's like Christmas in November to get a Patrick Berry and a Barry Silk back-to-back. Who's tomorrow going to be? Blindauer? Steinberg? Chen?…

Some cute stuff in here - CEREALBOX (29A: Life preserver?), BATSIGNAL (48A: Searchlight in comics) - and the "searchlight" mini theme was fun, too.

Lots of trickiness, some very tough stuff, and why is QUARK "60A: A tiny bit strange?" I mean, I get that it's tiny, but "strange?"

Oh well… I'm almost too exhausted to go through this again for more material. If you particularly loved or hated parts of it, let's discuss it further in the comments.

- Horace


  1. DNF. Yes, I know, I lacked patience to work through everything, not to mention time today. Ah, well. Some of this went very easily, like the SW, where I guessed KTS for 61D, and got QUARK and OBLIQUE off of that. See, there are six kinds of quarks: up, down, bottom, top, charm, and... wait for it: strange. BATSIGNAL was nice, and I guessed LASSOER off of that. So that corner and the lower half of the middle went easy. I also found parts of the NE straightforward: AMATI, LABAMBA, AMI. CEREALBOX took forever (and a lovely clue it is).

    IDA is clued peculiarly: that character is a very small part, with one solo in a trio in the third act. I love the operetta, but never would have figured that one out. ENMASSE is also clued strangely: How a band moves. Why a band? I liked TET, one of the few items in the NW I got right off the bat, along with HEMP. I could not for the life of me figure out TWO IRON - I was thinking of the other kind of club (the country or gentlemen's variety).

    I presume Huygens would like 28D.

  2. 45:04
    This was a grind, but we kept at it. LRON Hubbard was a welcome bit of crosswordese to get into this, which gave us SOLS, turn TAIL, and NATS. I guessed RABAT from the T in TAIL and it turned out well. Annie guessed BIOWEAPON before any crosses and, while we didn't enter it right away, EBBTIDE and HEMP seemed to work and so forth.

    QUARK is "strange matter."