Saturday, January 31, 2015

Saturday, January 31, 2015, Tim Croce

Untimed, about 45 minutes

Completed with my mother in NYC. A story of two halves of a crossword puzzle. The diagonal split things pretty well, with the SW half being far easier than the NE half.

The first entry was ALLES, with 2D: Plant called "rocket" outside the U.S. (ARUGULA) being a quick second. And here is where we made our first mistake: I suggested "rUglach" for 17A: Alternative to a babka (NUTCAKE). In fact, that answer didn't make its appearance until 5 minutes before the ending. Instead we merrily completed the SW corner and the SE corner, and even worked our way up the east side.

My favorites in these sections were 54A: Himalayan food, perhaps? (CATCHOW), 36D: General figure (BODYTYPE), 48A: It's not much higher than a D (EFLAT), and 33A: Part of a goth dude's look (GUYLINER). That last I'd guessed "eyeLINER" off of the L of BLOKE, but was corrected by Phoebe, who from across the room suggested the appropriate gender-modification.

Things I didn't much like in this section: EMSPACE, a less than interesting entry; OMER, your standard 4-letter Hebrew option; and ALOHAOE. Don't much like FOTO, either. We also had a little Huygens material with BREASTS.

So, all well and good, we're motoring along, not even 10 minute into it at this point, when we come up against it. Sometimes it's like that. Even with BLAME and GUYLINER in place, the NE corner mocked us. 29A: Shortening for shortcuts (CTRL)? 22A: Beethoven's fifth? (SOL)? Both took forever to figure out. I guessed TRISTAN, but erased it several times, mostly because we'd entered "trustME". Later, we tried "eatsoME" as well.

For 8D: "I'd like some of that, bro", we had "fillMEUP" for a while. Another error was at 1D, where we guessed "rAmADA". Finally, I erased everything we weren't sure of, and when my mother suggested CANADA, we quickly finished the NW. Unfortunately, I thought MELIKEY was spelled with two Es at the end, so that made for more difficulty. Mom suggested RED for 11D: Ketchup, e.g., and that finished it off.

I like the colloquialisms: HOOKMEUP, YESBOSS, IMAWARE, all of these more than MELIKEY. CARLSJR, a restaurant chain that operates "predominantly in the western and southwestern states", per Wikipedia, was unknown to me, which really slowed us down.

Overall, it's a well-made puzzle with a good grid, and few complaints. A good challenge is well worth it. Others may have found it easier, I'm sure.

Signing off as blogger until March!

- Colum


  1. 1:17:54 FWOE (again!)

    We had a similar experience. As I mentioned yesterday, the NE was a total washout for us, and we, like you, had to just clear everything away at a certain point and start anew. I guess it was finally getting HOOKMEUP that finally broke things. That and HUMORME. We, too, tried two final Es for the shocking MELIKEY. "MaƱana" a few days ago, and now MELIKEY? At least it wasn't "Me Rikey." Too much? Yes. Too much. Sorry.

    There was a little too much, maybe, that we didn't love in this one, but it was a good challenge, and that's one of the chief requirements of a Saturday, so I guess that's good.

    Our FWOE came from having NUsCAKE and REsELLS, both of which seem valid, especially given the foreign "babka" in the NUTCAKE clue. Oh well.

    Thanks again, Colum, for taking on the reviews this month. I've very much enjoyed reading them. It was a much needed break for me, and I'm refreshed and ready to take the next month!

    Go Pats!