Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saturday, April 18, 2015, Damon J. Gulczynski

0:17:56 (FWOE)

Damn that ETYMON (50A: Linguistic root)! I guessed "etymol" early on, grasping at the idea that the beginning of "etymology" might be able to be called a "root," and at the end I was so caught up in the intersection of DIAS (22A: Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu who found a sailing route around Africa) (I was wondering for a minute if he might have been a "good" guy whose name was "Hope"... get it?) and BABYSIT (7D: It's easy to do for an angel), that I forgot to check 37D: "Phantom Lady" co-star (RAINES). Was Claude Raines in that, I wonder? No. It was Ella Raines. Who?

Oh well, you can't win 'em all. But my own personal troubles aside, I rather liked this puzzle. The fifteens are solid, and I love the pair of 11s - OKELYDOKELY (3D: All right, to 42-Across (42A: Rod and Todd's dad, in TV cartoondom (NED))), and DIRKDIGGLER (24D: "Boogie Nights" persona played by Mark Wahlberg). And the colloquial flavor of several of the clues felt fresh, too. BELIEVEYOUME (20A: "... and that's no joke!"), OHCOMENOW (32D: "Puh-lease!"), HOWNICE (41D: "Isn't that special!"), and SOUNDSLIKEAPLAN (57A: "Yes, lets!"). And to think I once said I disliked the "quotation mark" clues. Well, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't, I guess.

I enjoyed learning the word ORRERY (46D: Model in a science class), which is one of these things -

An important early one of which was presented to the Earl of Orrery, and that name apparently stuck. Speaking of etymology, that's a strange one.

ELEANORRIGBY (54A: Beatles song in which no Beatle plays an instrument) got a great clue, and I liked VULGAR (19D: Base). There was definitely a bit of "glue" - as one reviewer put it recently - like OTO, UTE, GOA, ARY, LINA, and a few others, but the big stuff overpowered the small stuff today, and any puzzle that includes the Beatles, THECLASH, Chubby Checker, Isaac Asimov, and The Simpsons gets a thumbs up in my book.

- Horace


  1. I too loved this puzzle, although my time--over at least three sessions--was at least three times what you posted. (Rex also labeled it as an "easy-medium"). I, however, did complete the thing with no errors. It would have been considerably easier if I had known Rod and Todd sooner. Instead, I was fixated on some Nickelodeon kid toon. Having "ICECOLDlEmonAdE" in my grid for the longest time didn't help either. As you note, much of this material seemed fresh, and there was a nice mix of older fill too: RAINES, OOP, LOEWE, BOOKEM (always brings a smile to my face), and the ones you cited in your last sentence. My favorite might have been CHET, just because I knew it immediately and knew that for some solvers (Huygens and my dad, for instance, it would require just about all the crosses). Speaking of the great Dutchman, much for him to enjoy today: DIRKDIGGLER, GAYS, the great crossing of ANAL and OLEO, (and, if you really want to get VULGAR, the pairing of OEDIPAL and BABYSIT--but OHCOMENOW, I am certainly not going to go there!). Anyway, for me, a good--hard--Saturday. I always want to be challenged on Friday and Saturday, and I was with this one. Favorite tough answers: GOA, NOBALL, ETYMON--which I really should get to know--CALVIN, ANDEAN, and OLDIE, which I just now got as I was looking over the grid and remembering the Chubby Checker mention in Horace's review!

  2. 42:40
    Yeah, I didn't know CHET, but the rest wasn't too bad for a Saturday, and that's a good time for me. I needed too many crosses, though, for ELEANORRIGBY, which should have come faster, and I never heard of an ORRERY, although I've seen them. I won't comment too much on ET59's rant starting with ANAL.... I thought that it was Claude RAINES, too, having never heard of that movie. LSD seems to show up in lots of NYT puzzles, no?