Sunday, May 17, 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015, Byron Walden


An all-around excellent Saturday, I'd say. I have to acknowledge that without Hope's help, I'd still be muddling around.

My first entry was ADAMS, clued with a reference to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, so that's a winner right there, in my book. I don't recall if I guessed UPDATED immediately, or if I came back to that later. While it's certainly true that news blogs are "updated", typically, it's such a blandly a propos adjective, that I'm surprised I spotted it. LEAKING came next, and then EDGERS, but the rest of the corner took some time to get to. Didn't help that EPEE was clued via a proper name rather than the typical fencing reference.

I had NOOR in the SE, and ASHARP (a gimme) in the SW, without much traction. I put ASTI in at 37A (it's a plague of Asti!!), but misguessed INfact at 40D. That's when Hope said "Wasn't Deva a HINDUGOD?" The SW immediately fell, allowing SLEPTAROUND (nice answer), and clarified that 45A: ___-com was referring to ROM and not "dot".

In fact, the middle was filled out pretty quickly, including AVERAGESOUT, which is a very nice answer to the clue 28A: Moves toward the middle. I initially was thinking politically rather than statistically. The very tough NARIS took a long time to figure out - we know that body part more commonly through its plural, nares. Part of the problem was that 25D: "You ____?" had many possible answers. I tried "there" first, then switched it to "agree" before finally figuring out AGAIN.

I don't love CLOSETROD. I know it's what the item in question is called (and I knew it was what the clue was referring to), but it just feels like a nothing word. Nonetheless, The middle gave me BULLYFORHIM, which clarified the NE. I love the reference to Roberto CLEMENTE with a nice piece of trivia.

Hope immediately volunteered REDDIAPERBABIES for 31A: Children of American Communists. Clearly, this was the seed for the puzzle, and it's an evocative and fascinating phrase. It took some time to figure out the NW at this point, only because I'd put "hexa" in at 24A: Sixth in a series. I wanted CIRCE for 21A: Goddess of magic, but the ___RxED at the end of 3D wasn't getting me anywhere, until Hope suggested IMPORTED. 2D: Welcome out (REPRIEVE) was a really nice clue and answer.

Finally, the SE fell. BONESMAN is a lovely entry (although I don't like what it's referring to). TITMICE always gets me because of the alternative pluralization. SHRINERS is wonderfully clued with the reference to the Imperial Divan. And finally, 55A: Tail waggers? (MOONERS) is awesome.

- Colum

1 comment:

  1. 23:27

    This was the first time we've solved together, side-by-side, in several months! And it seemed to work just as well as ever. Frannie came up with UPPSALA, CIRCE, and the "not-what-you'd-think" ZETA, which really opened up that NW and got us off to a good start. She also came up with SPANG, which she called "chiefly British." I'd also put "BULLY...," "STINGO," and even "MENTAL" into that category. But I'm not complaining. We enjoyed the puzzle quite a bit. The two drug clues coming off 1A: (coffee) and 1D: (all illicit drugs) were a very good start. "Highest officer in his field, ironically" (DRUGCZAR)... HA! That's good stuff!