Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015, Michael Wiesenberg


This was a strange solving experience. My final answer was NEWT, which was a weird aha moment, when I gathered suddenly that the "brew" referred to in 4D was a witches' brew, and the answer for 4D was not rYE but EYE. And that completed 1A: ?! (INTERROBANG) at the same time, a word I'd never heard of before but wish I had. What an excellent term.

In truth, I broke in with ATA after incorrectly entering "hold" for 8D: Restrain, as one's breath (BATE), and then guessed GROTTOES, off of which I was able to intuit SEEYOULATER and SWEETPOTATO. Then I had to work my way around the entire puzzle to end up back at the aforementioned 1A.

Every long answer in this puzzle shines, in my opinion. Two trios of 11-letter answers and two trios of 10-letter answers, and each is above average. ERYTHROCYTE is beautiful. HANDCRAFTS is great. LAPRESMIDI, an answer I needed no crosses for, is a nice reference to Debussy, but a piece I never had much use for myself. SAINTSDAYS is lovely, although isn't it true that every day is a Saint's day in the Catholic calendar? Certainly the two referenced (February 14 and March 17) are well-known for their individual saints.

There's a nice diagonal chunk of 5-letter answers in the middle, but unfortunately they're almost all of them plurals. JUICEBAR and VIBRATO are a couple of other nice answers. Clues I liked included 23A: Blood problem, maybe (FEUD) and 36A: Pair of elephants? (TUSKS). There were also some nice paired clues, including the violin duo of PEGS and VIBRATO, and the pair of heels (ROTTERS and RUPAUL).

There were a number of entries I didn't much like, including AWHIRL, ITI, DOABLE, and NRC. But they floated by in a sea of pleasurable stuff, so I overlook them.

- Colum


  1. 61:28
    How is that 13:41 possible?! I finished most of this in about twenty minutes, but that western portion was difficult. I had AtwIRL at first, but slowly figured out WINECOOLER, giving AWHIRL, leading to HAND..., but no bottom for that one as yet. NORELCO and ACCLAIMS took forever, as did TALLONE, which shouldn't have. Lots of good stuff in this solid puzzle, though, as Colum has deftly pointed out. But are we supposed to say FATTEST (24A Obesity superlative)?

  2. 1:08:38

    Yeah, that's one hell of a time, Colum! I laughed out loud when I saw it. Not because I didn't believe it, of course, but because I delighted in your speed.

    Frannie wanted INTERROBANG from very early on, but didn't trust herself enough to enter it until it was substantially supported. That's the way it was today. Nothing came particularly easy. Well, I entered TARE and FATTEST without crosses, but later doubted myself and took them out again, only to soon reenter them. Ahh well. As you say, Colum, the long corner stacks are all quite good. And as Huygens said, the wild west was tricky. ROTTERS (5D: Heels) wasn't exactly the first thing we thought of, and RUPAUL (Male reality show host in heels) took way too long. The last thing we entered, though, was the S in SIGILS (40A: Symbols with supposed magic power). I wouldn't even have bothered checking the word if it appeared on my tray while playing online Scrabble, but luckily, it was able to be withdrawn from the deep recesses of Frannie's mind.

    It was a nice, tough, Friday. For some of us, at least.

  3. Yeah, that was a fast Friday for me...