Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday, June 12, 2015, David Steinberg


For once I seemed to be on Mr. Sternberg's wavelength. I blundered my way into this one by guessing "Kazakhstan" for TAJIKISTAN (5A: Land bordering western China), and then I kind of backed into the puzzle from the NE. I guessed that 16A: Like the Hulk, typically" might end in "rage" (ONARAMPAGE), which helped a little - until it didn't. I love that clue and answer, by the way. And luckily, "Kazakhstan" has a K in the same place as TAJIKISTAN, and I was able to get KALEL (9D: Infant rocketed to earth from Krypton) off of that.

The grid is reminiscent of yesterday's, with it's tall triple stacks in the NW and SE, but is much more open overall, with good flow from one section to the next. The stacks are all decent. For some reason, of the two brand names, I prefer ELECTROLUX (60A: Hoover competitor) to KIASORENTO (32D: Toyota Highlander alternative). Is it because ELECTROLUX is an older brand? Or because Kia misspells Sorrento? Much like Toyota misspells Siena. Or are they not trying to evoke Italian towns with those names? Who knows? Certainly not me.

Anyway, this one breezed by, perhaps a bit too easily. There were some straightforward clues that were tough for me - I was not familiar with DELIBES (58A: "Sylvia" ballet composer, 1876), and I didn't remember SILAS (53D: Monk in "The DaVinci Code"), for example, but the clues that seemed like they were meant to be tricky were not so today. 17A: One having a ball at the circus (SEAL), 27A: Checked out like a wolf (OGLED), 36A: "Baa! Baa! Baa!" singer (YALIE), and even 49A: "B.C." sound effect (ZOT) went right in.

Overall, a lovely grid, and a solid puzzle.

- Horace


  1. 38:25 (FWOE)
    I take exception with some of the crap in here, namely the TOJO/TAJIKISTAN cross, which was ungettable, IMO, but I also didn't like, and it wasted quite a bit of my time, the crosses of DELIBES (an unfamiliar composer to me) and ALTA (an unknown ski resort) with SENATESEAT; I had SENATE___ for a long time, but was thinking "StOp" for 67A (Part of a schedule) (until I got the "BALL" of SLEAZEBALL, that is). Oh, I don't know. I'd flown through this whole thing except for the SE in about 14 minutes, but of course once I figured that section out I received the dreaded "Puzzle Completely Filled" box due to that "T" up at 5A/D. Other than that, I'll agree with the (mostly) nice stacks. Interesting that the Honda Pilot would fit in where the KIASORENTO goes. Most of the other stuff seemed a bit easy for a Friday, but I guess that the mix is what makes a nicer puzzle.

    1. I agree that TOJO is tough, but I don't think you can really argue with any current country name as fill.

  2. 20:50
    I also had FWOE, due to the O of TOJO/ONARAMPAGE. I had an I there, from an earlier stab at the Japanese personage (tried "Hiro") and iNARAMPAGE seemed possible if odd. Some great answers in the puzzle: RAZORBACKS is unusual, and JEWELRYBOX is lovely Scrabble stuff. SLEAZEBALL nearly made me finish with two errors (I wanted EE in the middle), but ASA rule (shout out to Frannie!) corrected me.

    DELIBES was a total gimme.