Thursday, April 2, 2015

Friday, April 3, 2015, Patrick Berry


OMG. I didn't even notice that this was a Patrick Berry. It makes my blistering Friday time a little less amazing, since I tend to think I've got Mr. Berry's number. Well, not so much that I have his number, but that, as Colum and I were just saying yesterday, his grids are full of such good fill, such normal words, that they seem easier, because you don't have to think to yourself, "What's that stupid little word for this or that that you only see in crosswords?" Anyway, I thought I was peaking a week late for the tournament! And speaking of the tournament, Mr. Berry is one person I really was hoping to see there, but another constructor told me that he never shows up. Is that true? Are you out there? Why won't you come to Stamford to meet your adoring public? Why?

So anyway, now that I know who made it, I guess it's no surprise, as I said, that there is absolutely nothing terrible in here. So clean and smooth. Not quite as open as he sometimes is, maybe, but still plenty of space as you move around the grid, and a nice, thick middle section.

I started over in the NE, where I tried "patsy" for 8A: Sucker (CHUMP), and then erased it when I put in the almost-equally erroneous "ManowAr" for 11D: Saucer-shaped jellyfish. (MEDUSAS). I guess the man-o-war isn't really saucer-shaped. Come to think of it, it might be the only one that isn't saucer-shaped!

With those mistakes to start, it's a wonder I got anywhere at all up there, but PREPPY (12D: Wearing a polo shirt and boat shoes) was a gimme for someone who went to high school and college in the '80s, and SWELLUP (20A: Become big after a hit) came pretty quickly too. HILL (9D: Reason to downshift) is easy for one who still drives a stick, but UKULELE (10D: It's played close to the chest) took at least five crosses. Nice one, that.

Other clues I liked were 51A: One who just can't lose (POORSPORT), 46D: Site of Santa sightings (MALL) (tried "pole" here), 45A: Gentleman's agreement (YESMAAM) (nice!), 54A: "It has quick ears to an accusation," per Henry Fielding (GUILT), and 27A: Place to take an umbrella (BEACH). Simple, but effective. 

Not much more to add. Always a treat, Patrick Berry. Why don't you come out next year? I'll buy you a drink. I promise.

- Horace


  1. 32:29
    Wow, that is a good time, Horace, but maybe Mr. Berry doesn't drink. I agree about the great grid and fill, of course. The NE was the last to go for me because of MEDUSA, CHEEK (great), CHUMP, HIKER, ELUDE (I had EvaDE for a while) and SWELLUP. Once I got UKULELE, though, things like ESP (25A Gift that not everyone accepts) and the others went in. BARMY (22A Bonkers, in Britspeak) took a few crosses, but luckily FORBES, FINEART and ONTARIO fell pretty quickly. I'd forgotten about MCCAIN hosting SNL, too. AFRIKANER was something I'd heard about Charlize Theron, but had forgotten (although I wrote it in with only a couple of crosses), and ONTHEMENU (16A Coming up, informally) was a bit tricky. BTW, big fan of Hawthorne and TWICETOLDTALES. Of course, you and Frannie probably have some beef with him, ala Dickens. As a final note, Icarus Fob is probably pretty near to CAYUGA Lake at this time.

  2. 9:28.
    It's funny that Horace and I were discussing Mr. Berry's puzzles just the other day, and we get such a lovely example of one on this Friday. The last letter in the grid was the O at OGRADY and OLAY, which I think is fitting, because it's the only cross which is at all annoying in my book. So many great entries. BERETTA, with a nice bit of trivia. James Bond carried a Beretta for a while, before moving on to a Walther PPK. Love Wikipedia. I knew AFRIKANER, and guessed MCCAIN, which actually gave me BARMY. 28D: People get off on them (EXITRAMPS) is great cluing, no question mark needed. Likewise 10D: It's played close to the chest (UKULELE), as you mentioned. And how about the simple 57A: Ships with speed (FEDEXES) - a great switch of noun and verb.

    I had a great time with this one, both literally and figuratively.

  3. 17:09
    Yes, indeed, I can see CAYUGA from this very sofa, although that will change as the leaves take hold. But I do see it daily in my travels.
    ONTARIO, REA, FORBES, and STOCKEXCHANGES, in that order, were our first four entries and happened quickly, and that opened things up nicely. We did lose a lot of time in the NW with FINALyeAr in there, and then ONTHEMENd, and I must say I did not like the clue for AXEL (6D: Impressive way to turn up?). Sure, it's a crosswordese answer and so the clue ought to be a little unique, but calling a figure skating jump a "turn up" is a bit of a stretch, don't you think? I guessing Mr. Shortz would rationalize that the "?" makes the awkward turn of phrase OK, but that's a different discussion, isn't it?

    Other than that, though, I agree that it's a nice grid with answers that flowed. AFRIKANER was nice for the lovely Ms. Theron and I remember MCCAIN's attempt at an October surprise on SNL. I believe I actually stayed up to watch that live, although I certainly remember it. I also liked YESMAAM (45A: Gentleman's agreement?), although the "?" seems excessively unnecessary there, as it does with (15A: Wild lover?) for HIKER.