Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saturday, July 18, 2015, Joe Krozel


I'm writing this review late in the evening after watching five stage productions at my daughter's acting camp starting at 12:00 and running until 9:30. They had three weeks to put these shows together, and they were pretty darned impressive. The day ran like clockwork.

Speaking of which...

A little mini-theme is presented in today's puzzle. I noted the unusual shape of the grid when I opened it up, but did not immediately make the connection to the face of a clock. In fact the entire west half of the puzzle yielded nothing to me. My first entry came at 17D: X'd out completely, in the game Battleships (SUNK). But it was the shape of the puzzle which made 24D and 24A gimmes (ONETHIRTY and OCLOCK respectively). That's too much on a Saturday.

The SE fell pretty quickly, although I had a hard time seeing SENDSON (31A: Forwards). In part, it was the oddity of DOMECAR, which I've never come across before, as well as the initially opaque 33D: What "///" may represent (SPARES). AILERON and STROPHE are two handsome entries, and ICANRELATE is reasonable colloquial fill, although my daughters have shortened it to either saying "same" or "me."

The NE had nothing much to comment on. RAMONA was clued in a near impossible way. I'd never heard of novelist or novel. But it became clear that it was the only choice because the crossings were fair.

On second pass through the western half of the puzzle, I actually found a few entries I should have gotten earlier, like the SHETLANDISLANDS and ALADDIN. I'm going to quibble pretty strongly about ATREAR. This is not a thing anybody says. Nor will they at any time in the near or far future. It's just not a thing.

In the NW which was the last part to fall, I liked ANATOLIANS and SALAMANCA right on top of each other. VETOES was a nice answer to "Sends back to Congress". How many people put "re-" in at the beginning without hesitation? I liked PASSINGINTEREST, did not much like VENAE, and RESP is poor stuff at 1A.

On the whole, I didn't hate it, but it paled in comparison to yesterday's gem.

- Colum


  1. I have just one word for this puzzle: NEIN. Ugly, gimmicky grid with almost zilch in the way of thematic payoff. Seriously, ONETHIRTY and OCLOCK is all we get for this eyesore?? I was sure there had to be more. When I finished I perused all of the answers to see if maybe any of them related to "one" or "thirty" or clocks . . . or something. Yes, ATREAR is awful--a real ass of an answer, in fact. RESP is almost embarrassing, given its prominent position in the grid. A clunker that you didn't call out is TESTINGS. What the hell is that? I generally just call them "tests." The three-letter pivot in the center is extremely poor: CDI (with completely uninspired cluing), ACS (Have I mentioned my disdain for abbreviation plurals?), and ANA (What, we have to know all of the world's airlines now? And no, I don't consider that enlightening--like learning what a caliologist studies--one point for Krozel there!). Colum, if you grew up in our family, DOMECAR would have been a gimme. I don't want to sound too Rex-ish (too late?), so I will second your affinity for the ANATOLIANS/SALAMANCA stack; to which I would add the lovely and nicely clued DECANTS. But speaking of that / symbol, / / / doesn't ring true for SPARES. Unlike X's for strikes, you would never see a string of three lines like that on a bowling scorecard; there would be numbers in between. Maybe that's picking nits, but it bugged me. This puzzle has me ILLIN' Bring on the new week!

  2. For the first time all year, and possibly since last summer, we solved this one together on the porch in Maine; folding it onto a clipboard and passing it back and forth with a pen, just like god intended. It was a very pleasant solve, over two pulls each out of the new Nespresso machine... I don't have the finished grid in front of me, and so I don't have much to add to the fine commentary already given above. I will say that I enjoyed the three fifteens in the middle - SHETLANDISLANDS being my favorite. And yes, DOMECAR is certainly not unfamiliar. Frannie got that one, but she's practically been more of a family member than I have for over 30 years now, so that's really no surprise.

  3. 0:02:59

    Well, I did the puzzle again just now, to see if I could add anything further. Even after finding a mistake (VaNAE) I still clocked in at just under 3:00. I guess it's possible, then, for me to fill in a 15x15 grid in that time, after all, so that's my new Monday goal. Incidentally, I think I overheard someone at the ACPT say that Mr. Feyer broke two minutes on one of the puzzles. I can't confirm it myself, but that's what I heard. Still... my goal is staying at under three. Not under two.

    So anyway, I remembered that I got into the puzzle with ILLIN, but I had already considered DACHA and VETOES. With the notable exception (gimme) of DYER, the Acrosses in the SE were well-clued, especially THEMAGI, AILERON, TRACED, and ETTAS (the plural being forgiven because one thought at first that it would be a last name, not a first name!). And elsewhere AIRBALL (8D: Court embarrassment), and OHGOD were also good. I agree with the criticism leveled against SPARES, and there were several other less-than-desirable answers. I guess I'd give it a tepid thumbs-up. I, for one, enjoy the daring asymmetrical grid (although the payoff, as stated, wasn't all that could have been hoped for).

    Lastly, the pair of Python images still has me laughing, especially the video of the ladies being LOUTS. Excellent choices.

    1. Wow! Under 3 minutes! Actually, it's good to know that it's physically possible.

  4. DNF
    I couldn't get much on the west coast except for PASSINGINTEREST, which I filled in right away. I filled the east in in 17:19 (with the aforementioned answer in the west), but just couldn't get anything else. I didn't like that ACS was an abbreviation when "Coolers" isn't a typical abbreviation, but I'll accept it, and I did also get CDI for 25A, but that was it.