Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saturday, April 25, 2015, James Mulhern


Another fun, tricky puzzle. A couple of gimmes from my teen years helped me get into this one fairly quickly: THEDOORS (15A: 1960s - 70s band that took its name from an Aldous Huxley title) and VONNEGUT (39D: Author who created the fatalistic optometrist Billy Pilgrim). Coincidentally - sort of - Frannie and I recently saw Jim Morrison's grave in Paris. Hi-ho.

And speaking of my younger days, boy oh boy did I dislike Pete Rose in 1975. (It looks like this photo might even have been taken at Fenway.) But nowadays, I side with those who say he should be in the Hall. There, I said it. He was a damn good ball player. (But still I like to imagine that Fisk is holding the ball in his glove here... heh heh heh...)

And one last one from my past - STRATEGO (35A: Capture-the-flag game). Some time ago one of my older brothers confessed that he always let me have red and go first because the red pieces were translucent with a light on behind me. Older brothers... on the bright side, I like to think that losing every game I played - chess, monopoly, basketball, whiffle ball, hockey - until I was about 16 somehow made me into a better game player. I know Knute Rockne or Vince Lombardi or some other famous coach once said "Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser," but, well... I don't agree.

So where was I? I guess we could segue from the coaches to XSANDOS (8D: Chalk talk symbols), which I enjoyed, once I got it. And off that, I considered "woosh" and "thuck" before getting TWANG (20A: Sound of an arrow being shot). And I'm not familiar with LOEWE as a "6D: High-end fashion brand), but I see now that it's a Spanish brand that's been around since the mid-ninteenth century! 

I liked DOUBT (55D: "The beacon of the wise," per Shakespeare), I didn't know that MIT was the 61A: Alma mater for Benjamin Netanyahu, or that "lutra" was Latin for OTTER. It's from the word "luo" which means "to wash." I don't think I've ever seen Eminem in a DORAG - it's usually a hoodie or a cap - so I didn't love that one, and 34D: Global superpower? was cute-ish for ATLAS, but also not quite right, it didn't seem. 

And finally, I enjoyed the combo of ETILES (50D: Most plentiful pieces in a certain board game) (I was lost for a while when "pawns" was too short), and RSTLNE (51D: Bonus round freebies on "Wheel of Fortune"). 

An enjoyable Saturday.

- Horace


  1. 26:59
    You're on a roll, Horace! I had a whole lot of intermittent answers on my first run through the clues. Thinks like TWANG, ROOF (I like that clue, "Place for a dish"), FONDA, ENDNOTES (never could get through a DFW book, but I remember those notes), SOTS, and LIGETI, the only well-known composer with the first name Gyorgy. Then I got CHOCOLAT, which opened up the middle northern West section, but didn't get me very far. I like SOVIETS, which allowed me to see VONNEGUT (nice), and OHYESIDO (that's very nice, not the sort of rebuttal you expect). I'm not fond of ADUNIT or SCAPULAR, but oh well.

    I swooped through the SE section. I'd put Rod Carew in on a whim at 69A and immediately erased it because although I couldn't remember the name of Danson's character on Cheers (MALONE), I figured it didn't end with an O.

    I'd heard of SKRILLEX, which took a long time to figure out, but couldn't place them. For a moment I'd considered SKRIabin, which is just wrong on every level, including spelling. XSANDOS looks great in the grid. I love STRATEGO and SAMESEX, and ROIDRAGE is fine as well.

    Nice puzzle.

  2. Yeah, thanks! I really feel like I've been killing it lately on the puzzles. It's nice, too, to have two clean ones on Friday and Saturday after a rather sloppy, FWOEful week. I think the tournament changed me, somehow. At least I hope it did, and I hope it continues until the next one! :)

  3. This one almost certainly would have dragged into Sunday with the potential of a DNF had not Cindi suggested PENA for Clinton's Secretary of Energy. That led to the completion of the SW, which I had stared at for quite a long time even though VONNEGUT was the very first thing I entered into the puzzle. Pena was once the mayor of Denver, where Cindi lived through middle school and high school. She has always claimed that he once proposed the idea of saving money on plowing by just having the garbage trucks tamp down the snow after major storms. Some day I'll have to look through back issues of the Denver Post to get the details on that idea. Silly Colum, the great Rod Carew was, of course, an 18-time All Star. I too have never heard of LOEWE, or SKRILLEX for that matter. I also didn't know that bit of trivia about THEDOORS. LOVED this puzzle, though. Although I got it fairly late in the game, Mulhern had me at ROIDRAGE. How great is that? Horace, that wasn't me in the Stratego (which I too loved) reminiscence, was it? I don't think I would have wanted a ridiculous advantage like that, being a big gamer, and all. When I play games, I live by THE CODE, baby! Keep PETEROSE out of the Hall!! All the ROIDRAGErs too!!

  4. I don't know... sounds more like Rich, who played far fewer games than you, Dave, and me. Or maybe it was just mentioned as something that was known, but not exploited. Sometimes in writing one embellishes just because one can. I don't actually think any of you would have cheated, especially against one so much younger. I do still appreciate, however, that you didn't (at least very often, to my knowledge) "play down" to me, either. People call us competitive, but we all just want a good game.

  5. 60:03
    SKRILLEX is one guy, recently on the Stern show for an interview, otherwise I'd not have known him, either. Agree on the DORAG for Eminem. Sue and I saw CHOCOLAT in the theater, before she crossed Mr. Depp off of her "list." Not that my opinion matters much, but I agree that PETEROSE should be in the Hall of Fame. I liked the pair of Henry clues, needing a few crosses to get FONDA, but only one to get VIII. I had to stare at XSANDOS for a while to figure out what it was saying; funny how that happens. Lots of stuff went right in, but it still took me just over an hour to finish up. The SW was the most difficult for me. BTW, I disagree with Colum's "well-known" comment regarding LIGETI. Is anyone else with me on that?

  6. The name LIGETI is more familiar to me than SKRILLEX, but I know very little about either.

  7. To me, LIGETI is just something that sounds like I should know him, and I'd not have known SKRILLEX at all but for the aforementioned interview. I will now Google Ligeti, but before I do, I'd guess that he's a baroque composer, one of the many sound-alikes that I routinely ignore...stand by...well, was I wrong. According to Wikipedia, he's a composer of contemporary classical (they must mean "art") music, born in Transylvania, and he just died in 2006.