Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015, Patrick Berry


Ah, Mr. Berry. If only all puzzles were as smooth and enjoyable as your themelesses.

I tried "edge" at 1D: Narrow margin (INCH), but took it out when I realized that there were no states that started with D and were nine letters long. After hazarding IMSOSORRY at 4D: "My deepest condolences", I hit upon NEWMEXICO. I did not know that Santa Fe was the oldest capital city in the country. Unfortunately, I had to step away from the NW on account of not being able to figure anything else out.

I got LEAR and ANG, and even ALEVE, but the rest of the W was also opaque to me, so I moved eastward. 13D: "X" signer gave me ILLITERATE, a nice use of an adjectival noun. Isn't 12D: Wood choppers of old (FALSETEETH) excellent cluing? I'm not sure how he got away without using a question mark. 10D: Cause of black eyes? (MASCARA) is nearly as good.

The hits keep coming with 32D: Nobody's home (GHOSTTOWN). Man, that's top notch. I didn't even get it until just now. When I'd had POTTY, SKELETONS, and SWEETNLOW in place, I'd tried putting isOlaTioN in there, but it didn't even make sense at all.

I don't love the brand name COMPUWARE, and ANTINOVEL was unfamiliar. To have SACS in there as well makes the SE my least favorite corner. Still, I can't be too upset when NERO is clued by Poppaea Sabina. And we just ate pesto tonight, so:

I was able to move back across the middle after this. I knew that 36A was referring to Hall & Oates, but it turns out that their names have the same number of letters in them. Once I had a cross in the last name portion, I was able to get it, especially since I couldn't remember Oates' first name.

Should TEARGASSED be spelled with one S? I think we've had this conversation before. In any case, now that I think about it, we'd all agree that "gassed" is correct, rather than "gased." I had some difficulty with GOTOIT as I'd wrongly thought the last three letters would spell "out". GOTOuT seemed like a terrible answer for 23A: "Get cracking!" And it turned out it was terrible, in that it was wrong.

The NW in fact, once I got back to it, turned out to be very strong. I love CHASTENED, which I'd had difficulty figuring out because I'd guessed MIxeS for 7D: Some M&M's (MINIS). 2D: Classic pop (NEHI) referenced the product I'd chosen a picture for earlier this month, so when I got that, the rest of the puzzle fell into place.


- Colum

P.S. Shout out to Cece, who finished today's Mini puzzle in 17 seconds. Future ACPT champ?


  1. Colum, you and Rex have one thing in common: you both are frequently documenting ALL of the problems you had with the grid, and then you post your 15 minutes for a Friday or 6 minutes for an early week puzzle. Ah, envy. Anyway, this was indeed very, very fine work by Mr. Berry. A couple mis-entries slowed me down more than I should have been slowed down. First, I confidently wrote in "Coke" for "Classic pop," and a bit later I wrote in GETit instead of GETME (I still think mine is better). Love the trivia about the 1610-established Santa Fe, NEWMEXICO. Love, love, love the clue for FALSETEETH; I especially love that it Didn't have the question mark that I generally despise. A good one you didn't mention is SWAT for "Try to beat the buzzer?" I mean, seriously, how great is that clue? More nice trivia with the Hayworth film and with plangonologist. Now I know what my daughter is! I guess I will spare you guys my analysis of the 3's.

  2. Early warning: I'm coming out firing on Saturday.

  3. 0:18:43

    What the hell, I'll call out a few more. 30A: Unable to react (INERT) - lovely, 35A: Junker (HEAP) - both words are great, 40A: Omission statement? (OOPS) - cute, and sometimes a question mark is warranted, DETROIT - poor ol' Detroit, and those already called out - especially SWAT and FALSETEETH, were also great. A little more junk than Mr. Berry usually allows (which is absolutely none) with crosswordese bits like REEVE, NEHI and ETAL, and a few brand names, but really, lovely, as usual.

  4. Around 20 mins.
    I starred INERT and, for some reason about which I am unsure, ANG Lee, a common answer. I also loved AHOY (34D Hearty greeting?) for its nice use of "hearty" as a noun. I'm surprised that ET59 didn't mention that one.