Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday, May 30, 2015, Samuel A. Donaldson and Brad Wilbur


This has been a really great end of the week, from Thursday through today. A great way to usher in the end of my month of blogging - I hope Sunday lives up to it!

I love this kind of grid: from NW to SE flows with open spaces. The NE and SW corners are a little isolated, but the entrees into those areas are high quality words. Very little in the way of fill I didn't like. Let's get to it.

I knew 1D: Footwear donned on camera by Mr. Rogers (KEDS) immediately, and put in EMINENCE at 15A off of that. I got 6D: The bigger picture: Abbr. (ENL) with my Saturday solving hat on, but got stuck in that corner for lack of knowledge of Hagar the Horrible's dog's name (SNERT) or Newsman Holt et al. (LESTERS). As is often the case for me, the NW ended up being the last section I solved.

I got a smattering of answers, wrong (lewd for RACY, swirls for TWISTS) or right (MYNAS, ASHY, AWL) throughout the puzzle, but didn't really get going until Mr. Bertrand RUSSELL, which led naturally to 42A: Heads for the garden? (LETTUCES) and 38D: Cultured ones? (BACTERIA). I liked both of those.

ERUPTIVE was a guess, and the SE corner fell. I enjoyed the pairing of 33D: Where you might lose an hour (STATELINE) and 34D: It might gain you an hour (TIMESAVER). Mr. Isaac Asimov is always welcome in a grid, even if only represented by his BOLOTIE. I corrected the soft-serve ice cream answer, which helped find ADORATION, and completed the NE. ATANYRATE is a nice answer also.

52A: Chalked warning left for custodial staff (DONTERASE) is funny and highly unexpected. We also get ONESIE and the excellent 46D: Burn the midnight oil, e.g. (IDIOM), the sort of clue that gets me every time. I looked at ID_O_ for quite some time before twigging to the trick.

NONSTARTER and SMELLTEST go well together, the former not passing the latter. Who knew that OTTERS congregated in "rafts?" Well, I guess I do now. 36A: Pirates' place (DIAMOND) is another nice trick. I'd seen DIXIECRAT before, even referring to Mr. Strom Thurmond, but I needed much of the last syllable in crosses before I could fill it in. IMUPFORIT is a nice piece of vernacular.

My last word was DUXELLES, crossing ACEAWARD.

Best clue? 9D: Noted employee of Slate (FLINTSTONE). Way to hint at an up-to-date reference but actually go seriously retro.

- Colum

1 comment:

  1. 19:44
    An under-20 minute Saturday puzzle is quite a nice achievement for me. I had IDIO_ for quite a while before I had enough crosses for MATTER, then I thought, regarding IDIOM, "Excellent!" That's some nice cluing, there. I knew LESTERS and SNERT right away, watching news and reading comics on a regular basis. Most of the rest of this puzzle, though, seemed a bit easy for a Saturday, but maybe it was all just, as you people say, in my wheelhouse. Least favorite: ASHY (24A Like spent charcoal). Nice that LADYDI and ICONIC were mates, and Agree on Mr. Asimov.