Saturday, April 4, 2015

Saturday, April 4, 2015, Ned White


I slid through this one a pretty good pace, working methodically from the NW across and down, but got hung up in a big way in the SW. I guessed AVIEW (47D: "____ From the Bridge"), and from that got OVERT (52A: Patent), and I had the excellent PLAYFOOTSIE (22D: Work together closely but covertly), but nothing else would come. Finally, I Skyped Frannie, who is in Europe for the Spring, and asked her if she could be of any help. She hadn't done any of it yet, but started in the SW and got it all done very quickly! She says her entrée was MERCI (61A: Spassibo : Russian :: ____ : French), and she fed me that, and confirmed AVIEW, and that was all I needed. But jeez, NORMA (46D: Ibsen play parodying an opera) and RITAS (58A: Awards for romances) are both total unknowns, and NARCOS (46A: Ring fingerers?) is a bit of a stretch, isn't it? Has anyone said "Narco" since the Seventies?

Turns out the RITA award is named for the first president of the Romance Writers of America, Rita Clay Estrada. And "Norma, or A Politician's Love" is an Ibsen parody of Bellini's "Norma," which I have never heard of. So that was tough. RETRO (48D: In again) was nice, and CRACK (49D: First-rate) was a Saturday clue for sure! I tried "primo," and "prime" in there at various times, to no avail. Obviously.

On the bright side, I loved KOPUNCH (41D: Flooring delivery), INTHENUDE (59A: One way to sleep), and SCHEDULEA (62A: Top form) and KISSMYGRITS (10D: Old sitcom retort) were fun. ALOP (27D: Catawampus), on the other hand, was weak. But on balance, I found this to be a good puzzle, and a good challenge.

- Horace


  1. Somewhere around 40 minutes. I found this one to be intermittently excellent and intermittently awful. First off, the grid is simply horrible. It's really four different puzzles, with two minis in the NE and SW and the rest of each diagonal space. I hate when the puzzle is split into two halves accessible by a single space in two places.


    Bad: I raised an eyebrow at the clue for 3D (CERA) - it seemed peculiar to just reference his last name like that. 25D: Sterling (AONE) deserves a ?!. RITAS, NORMA, NARCOS. I wanted "grooms" or "brides" for that last one. 53D: DISC. ?!?!.

    I must have put in and taken out SHIN about 20 times.

    Oh, well. Maybe it wasn't that bad. I just didn't like it.

  2. Frannie here, with a comment, possibly for the first time ever. Ha! I finished this Saturday puzzle with one assist and one error. I didn't know the A in the SAGAL/ALOP cross. Horace helped me out with that one. The O in KOPUNCH took me forever to get, even with all the rest filled in. When I finally got it, it really knocked my socks off. :)

    I have to respectfully disagree with the love you both had for the clue for PLAYFOOTSIE. It's the word "work" in the clue that troubles me. Sure, you could call it "work" in a manner of speaking, but I wouldn't.

    Also, I knew Colum wasn't going to like the isolation of the NE and SW corners of the grid. I said as much to Horace over the Internetz. I completed both those corners first (starting with the SW in an effort to assist Horace) and gained no access to the rest of the puzzle. :(

    But, back to the error part of FWOAAOE, I didn't know 43A Gallimaufries and where it crossed with 38D A single opening, I had UNo at first. D'oh! :)

    I, like Colum, thought DISC as an answer to 53D. Oreo component was, at best, strange. I also thought that the starting (1A) and ending (64A) "gestures" seemed particularly masculine. Maybe that's just me. :)

    I liked PERISCOPE, DEEPFUNK, and SEETHE - always a good word.


    1. Good to hear from you, Frannie! I hope the Low Countries are treating you well.

  3. 61:58 (FWT(3)E)
    I'll take it. NARCOS/NORMA/CRACK wouldn't come. I'll agree with Frannie that at least 64A would probably be considered more of a masculine gesture. I also don't know SAGAL or ALOP, but guessed the A. Favorite, of course: the previously mentioned INTHENUDE. Once I got it, though, KOPUNCH runs a close second. I didn't particularly like the clue for 50A 9-Down bits (PEAS). To me, that's a bit of a stretch.