Saturday, March 7, 2015

Saturday, March 7, 2015, David C. Duncan Dekker


It's not common that a puzzle advertises itself so baldly. The mini-theme of 1A: Completely (FROMATOZ) and 61A: They use every letter 1-Across (PANGRAMS) makes the goal of the puzzle absolutely crystal clear. Although, to be fair, Mr. Dekker accomplishes his pangram with room to spare, using 3 Zs, 4 Xs, 2 Js, 3Ks, and 1 Q.

There's a lot to like about this grid. The open spaces with two large connections to each corner make the flow of the solving enjoyable. I got 19A: A lot of bucks... or the Bucks, briefly (MIL) as my first entry, and guessed at YETIS, but it wasn't enough to open the NW. TEXTS was a good guess in the SW, but that area as well resisted further entree. I wanted "death squad" for 34D: Group of dispatchers, and then "hitmen". It took a long time, nearly to the end, to get the right answer.

My biggest success started in the middle S, where DANTE is clued well with "Writer about a hellish journey". With the local gimme of BACKBAY and the nice Clair de Lune reference of DFLAT, I was off and running. I had the entire corner done quickly, then stalled. I couldn't see VISINE, but Hope helped me out, and JOSBOYS came back to me from some uncataloged corner of my mind.

I wanted anorEXIA (?) and deCODING. It was the latter that made me give up the incorrect "elmira" for the Minnesotan county containing Grand Rapids. I didn't know ITASCA or PEEDEE (although I've seen the latter in puzzles before). LARYNX helped me figure them out. I love the clue for EATS: Works on a course. That's good stuff.

I took a break here because I couldn't get anything. When I came back, FROMATOZ jumped into focus (should have been obvious much earlier), and then the rest went in about 3 minutes.

Some nice clues: 15A: Something you might make a stand for (LEMONADE); 17A: Quaint raid targets (ICEBOXES) - I wanted "bloomers"; 12D: Source of a character flaw? (DYSLEXIA); and 53A: Execute a motion on the fly? (ZIP).

I didn't know either MILKCAP or PEZIZA - gotten entirely from crosses, all of which were fair. I should have known ODETOJOY (7D: European Union anthem).

A fine Saturday, and I think the trifecta was completed.

- Colum


  1. 33:34, but FWOE
    I despaired, briefly, that I wouldn't finish this one at all. The NE had me stopped cold for quite a long while. I actually got JOSBOYS from Frannie over Skype, which gave me TOXIN and JEDI, but above that I had little. I, too, tried anorexia and decoding, but nothing else came. Finally, I realized that DYSLEXIA was much better, and that gave the excellent LARYNX (I had been thinking along that line, but couldn't get it without the Y, I guess), and then, well, the rest. I know ITASCA because I have a brother who lives in Minneapolis, and the P of PEEDEE and PLIES felt like a guess, so when I didn't get the Congratulations! alert, I spent a little while wondering what else that could maybe be. In the end, it was LLD. I had put an S at the end of that and never went back to wonder about JEs. By the way, I think I learned that ODETOJOY was the EU anthem during one of the recent Olympics broadcasts. Didn't they have people singing that all over the world? Was that the Olympics? I seem to remember people out in front of the Sydney opera house... anybody? does that ring any bells?

    1. Can't say I recall that happening, but I think I missed the opening ceremonies.

  2. 57:34
    I think that I saw that opening ceremony at David's in SD, but I could be mistaken. Regardless, I needed all of the crosses to get it. I put yoDa in first instead of JEDI, but all-in-all, the puzzle went by at a good pace for me for a Saturday, and it was all gettable stuff. ZIP was my favorite of the bunch: brilliant. I didn't know PEEDEE or ITASCA either, but the crosses worked them out.


    1. That was a long time ago! I didn't realize you were going that far back. Now that I am reminded of it, I recall that happening also.

  4. I didn't realize it was that long ago either, but that is definitely what I was thinking of. The 9th is timeless.