Friday, May 8, 2015

Friday, May 8, 2015, Ian Livengood


Wow. Now this is a nice Friday themeless. I love all the long answers, and the fill is almost entirely excellent as well.

We'll start with those nice 11-letter and 12-letter entries. It's great to have two full names in the grid, both ROGERFEDERER and SIMONCOWELL. That last gets one of the best clues in the puzzle as well: Fox hunt leader of old. There's a hidden capital, and the "of old" makes you think further back than, say, 2010.

ANKLEMONITOR took me a while to figure out. I got the idea as soon as ICERINKS (17A: Checking locales - ha!) went in, but I couldn't parse the second half. STONEMASONS, ELECTRICFAN, and NOISEMAKERS round out the long answers.

But the rest is also high quality. SNAPCHAT (which my daughter uses continuously) gives a contemporary air to the puzzle from the start. GREEKGOD is an unusual word to find in the last across of the puzzle, and also allows the presence of COACHK which looks great in the grid.

I was always a big fan of the original IRONCHEF: totally over the top. Cece is into Cutthroat Kitchen, which is good fun as well, but it's clearly a descendant of the original cooking contest show. HESSIAN is a good piece of trivia (35A: Participant in the Battle of Saratoga, 1777) - they fought with the British. I am reminded of Patience: "While a lover's professions/When uttered in Hessians/Are eloquent ev'rewhere!" I suppose those Hessians are different - on researching it, apparently they are a style of military boots.

Some clues: 21A: Something well-kept? (OIL). That one took me until well after I finished to understand. It's tortured in a good way. I also like 9D: Total zoo (CHAOS) and 46A: Whole lot of nothing (VOID) as examples of straightforward but fun clues.

Didn't like HALITE or ETRADE, but they're a small price to pay. Here's hoping tomorrow keeps up the good feelings!

- Colum


  1. 20:10
    This took over 1/2-hour less for me to complete than yesterday's puzzle, which I'll comment on after this. KETELONE was nice, even though it's a brand name. I thought that ELECTRICFAN was also excellent and enjoyed the ANIMAL/ELK pairing regarding Utah, as well as the third Utah-related answer at 1D, SKI. I eat quite a bit in sushi restaurants, but have never heard of 19A Masago, at a sushi bar (SMELTROE). I normally see the red tobiko roe from the flying fish. It seems that could have joined with MAC, ROLLS, CLAW, FED, ATE and IRONCHEF as food clue/answers, but didn't. CORDELIA is a nice entry, and it's always pleasant to think of HELEN Hunt, IMO. SITZ: no good.

  2. 25:10 (DNF)

    I could not, for the life of me, come up with Mazeroski's name, and neither did I know SITZ bath, so I ran the alphabet, and, as we know, that, for me, is a DNF. I could see the trajectory of the ball going out to left center, I knew I'd come up with the name if I put the puzzle down for a while, but I was too impatient. Oh well. And to tell the truth, when I got to about V I figured, oh well, there must be a second error somewhere... but I finished it just because, if you're running the alphabet, you're running the alphabet.

    That catastrophe aside, I enjoyed the puzzle. SNAPCHAT, CORDELIA, ICERINKS (nice clue) all good. I've never heard the term NEWSHOLE, and I can't say I loved it, but the crosses were all fair.

  3. DNF

    I could not get 53A Japanese import set in a kitchen. Unlike my fellow solvers, I never saw the show, and in fact, am only vaguely aware that it was a show. I could parse the word "set" only as a group of implements for use in the kitchen, which required an "s" at the end, which meant 56D. Had dinner, wouldn't resolve. Also, I had no clue about 43D. (COACHK), and have never heard the word(?) expression(?) NEWSHOLE. So, epic fail in the SE.

    A fine puzzle, really, but I was missing a spoke in this particular wheelhouse. Can I say that? :)