Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015, James Mulhern and Ashton Anderson

28:20 (FWTE)

It's the last day of July, which means yet another month has slipped by. I will be handing the blogging duties back over to Horace and Frannie, starting tomorrow. Every time I start blogging, I think I might do a theme of the month, but I haven't gotten around to attempting it. Honestly, I'd probably run out of steam well before the end of the first week.

In any case, before turning over the title of crossword14 blogger, I have one final Friday to write about. It's a pretty darned good one, with nice chunky corners and open connections from area to area. My errors came from carelessness, where I had guessed something early on then missed the correction later on.

Things started auspiciously enough with 1A: It often features diva impersonators (DRAGSHOW), which I entered without pause. I figured out 8D: It may be shot on a range (WESTERN), a great clue, and thought I'd be off and running. But no, it was a dead end. I got a little stuck thinking about Ant Man (and Paul Rudd), so ATOMANT took almost until the end of the puzzle to get.

Somehow the next area I got entry to was in the SE. Usually I work in a clockwise fashion in these puzzles. But 60A: Drawer of paradoxes (ESCHER) was a gimme, and I got the wonderful TOODLES off of it. I love 38D: Mouth (LIPSYNC). And 36A: Cry after a holdup (ATLAST) is brilliant. I only just now got that it wasn't about a bank heist.

I got into the SE completely independent. This time my entry was PACHISI. I then confused myself by entering iPad at 40A: What many designers work on (SPEC). You see, I was the one working on an iPad. When I figured that out, I then when with COMMENt instead of COMMEND for "Kudize". I must have been thinking of "kibbutz".

Eventually I worked my way up through the NE and across, with lots of help from Hope, who got both RASCALS and ONLINEAD. My errors came at HULASKIRT, where I had the "hipster dancers" wearing a HULAShIRT, crossing hERB, and at TOdLET for the "reading room" (all our librarian friends are either flipping their lids or nodding sagely at that answer). AdD made sense for "support", but AID makes more sense.

There is a ton of other good stuff in this puzzle. The only downs for me were OMAR and OONA.  Two big thumbs up from me, and until I come back in September, STAYDRY!

- Colum


  1. I too posted a DNF. (I prefer the harsher designation--keeps me hungry and not too big-headed about my crossword prowess). My mistake was also HULAShIRT, and, sadly, I cannot claim that it was exactly of the careless variety. I was totally flummoxed by the mis-direction of the clue; the body part "hip" never occurred to me. I was able to convince myself that there was indeed some such thing as a "hula shirt," and that bearded, fedoraed, Euro purse-wearing hipsters ride around in them on their fixies. hERB bugged me, but I really didn't even consider KERB since, as a non-world traveler, I have never in my life seen or heard that variant. Alas. Despite the error, I did enjoy this one quite a bit. It seemed contemporary, fresh and as edgy as a Times puzzle is going to get. NW corner provides a stupendous start with the trio of DRAGSHOW, AUTOTUNE, and the beer definition of DASBOOT. Staying in the North, TOILET and BAITCAR are both top notch. Not to be outdone, the South provides the previously-unknown-to-me-but-cool CANKLES, SEXYBEAST, and the humorously bizarrely clued GETWEIRD. Also loved CAGER in the South. What a nice change-up from the poor, tired "nbaer." The choice of teams was clever, as well. The only thing that would have made this effort better is if 31-Across would have been clued as "Tull frontman Anderson."

  2. Oh, one more thing. The themes intrigue me, Colum. I have no idea what you even mean by that.

  3. I don't know what you mean by "themes" either. I am already looking forward to September, so we can maybe find out!

    I loved this one, too. I can't believe you've never heard of CANKLES, ET59! What rock have you been living under? So much good stuff in this, much of it already addressed. KERPLOP crossing TOILET (gross, but awesome), SNOBALLS, GETWEIRD...

    I put in "theremin" without hesitation for 15A: Musical tool on Time's list of "50 worst inventions," then I tried "AUTOharp, before laughing out loud at the actual answer. That list, by the way, is an amusing read. I don't even know what some of the stuff is, but Crocs and Farmville are definitely correct choices.

    I don't know what our time was on this, but we worked on it together and it took probably an hour or more. I think we ended up with at least one error, too, so you can chalk up another DNF. Still, though, I COMMEND the effort (though not the verbing of Kudos for the clue).