Saturday, January 3, 2015

Saturday, January 3, 2015, Sam Ezersky


Here's a classic themeless with symmetric stacks of three 9-letter answers in each corner, two 10-letter answers crossing them and crossing a 15-letter answer across the middle. I broke in with 5D: Traditional three-liner (HAIKU), giving me KEELS, but then skipped around a bit with 25D: Test letter? (BETA) and 25A: ____ Rebellion (colonial uprising) (BACONS, a nice clue to avoid an annoying plural). That then gave me MOZZARELLASTICK, a surprisingly easily clued 15-letter answer. The SE followed, and then the NW.

I wasn't fooled by 32D: Taste (SAPOR) as I had been in the past (having put a V in the place of the P had led me to a FWOE once). The hardest section by far was the SW. Even with SOFTTOP and HOLDONASEC in place, I had a very hard time finding any footholds. It took incorrectly putting SAidso in place to figure out BOGART to make any headway. My last letter was the H in the BOTHA/HUPMOBILE crossing. I'd never heard of the latter, but I see it is a handsome vehicle indeed.

Some nice clues: 22A: Notice after the expiration date? (OBIT), 33A: Rear of a disco? (BOOTY, answer supplied by Hope today), 62A: Eschewing a higher calling? (ATHEISTIC), and 29D: Flat sign (TOLET).

Some nice answers: SKYYVODKA, BYTHEBY, IDIOCY. So that I don't leave you with the idea that Hope's mind is only in Huygens territory, she also knew NEMEROV immediately.

Some things I didn't much like: 53D: Start to ski? (HELI) is nothing I'd ever heard of. ELUL next to VALS next to ENL is pretty ugly. And that's about it.

My final note is a shout out to Frannie and Hope's favorite movie, Auntie Mame, with AGNES Gooch. Fun when you can get an answer like that without much thinking!

Three good puzzles in a row! I'm a little nervous about tomorrow.

- Colum


  1. 43:15

    Yeah, that SW was hellish. TOI (56D: "Vous," informally) didn't seem just right. Sure, it can be the equivalent of "vous," in expressions like "a toi," and I suppose that's all they need, but when you're crossing languages it doesn't seem quite fair to use anything that isn't straightforward. The easy equivalent would be "tu," but that's never going to be acceptable in the NYTX. Oh well... And OBS seems like it really ought to be OBGYNS. But I suppose some people just call them OBS. What do I know from OB-GYNS?

    I remembered BOTHA, mercifully, but HUPMOBILE was not known by either of us. Nor, really, was HELI. Or TRASK, but that's in the SE...

    And since we're over there, Frannie didn't love MARTS (50D: Trading places). And while we're grousing, is BRAINGAME (1D: Crossword, e.g.) a thing? Does anyone say that?

    I had "Sandwedge" for SEVENIRON (6A: Rough selection?) for a time, which I liked better.

    I got AGNES without crosses, as Frannie would have if she had seen it first, but she got BOOTY. Hah!

    I've done a lot of complaining, but it was a decently hard Saturday with some good to balance the bad. Much has been mentioned already. I also enjoyed ATHEISTIC, FULLTIMER, and ECOLOGIST.

    - Horace

    1. I'm fine with OBS, which is what we in the business would call those physicians in the process of aiding in a birth. BRAINGAME may be a stretch, but I didn't mind it. I put SEVENIRON in off of the S, so there.

  2. 63:14
    Almost 20 full minutes longer than Horace/Frannie, but as Colum mentions, the SW is a bear! Oddly, ATHEISTIC was the last to go in for me. I was confident with HUP, and had enouth of the MOBILE to fill that in, although I, too, had not previously heard of this machine. In the NW, TONYDANZA went right in, but OHIFORGOT elicited a groan. Finally, not having parsed the words correctly, I thought that mayby a "TOLET" is what one calls the flat sign! No real complaints, though, as I successfully completed the puzzle.