Saturday, August 1, 2015

Saturday, August 1, 2015, Kameron Austin Collins


First of all, thank you, Colum, for a fantastic month of reviews. There were some great puzzles last month, including yesterday's, but things are looking good for August too, if this fine offering from Mr. K. A. Collins is any indicator. It starts out well enough with GEMSTONE (1A: Rock), a nice modern definition of the clue. HBOMBS (9A: Big releases of the '50s) is ok, and I only learned the term LADMAG (18A: Maxim, e.g.) from puzzles, but things really pick up once we get into the middle section. BABYCAKES (27A: Sweetie) contrasting with FRIENDZONE (32A: Relationship with unrequited love, in modern slang) is lovely. TONGUETIED (36A: Stammering) is great.

MATCHPOINT (3D: Situation in which one person might have the advantage) is fun. The two Yiddish words SCHLEPS and SHTETL add some interest. Who doesn't love a little foreign language in the grid? PASMOI!

In the SE, we have the amusing 40D: "____ says..." (SURVEY), and QUITS (42D: What you might call it). SABLE (40A: Shade of black) is an elegant word, and PASYSTEM (56A: Principal means of address?) puts this reviewer in mind of Principal Skinner, and that's never a bad thing.

FREEUNION (32D: Cohabitation without marriage) feels a little arbitrary. Is that a thing people say? Didn't we used to just say "Living in sin?" Heh. Sin.... And I don't particularly love some of the threes in this one. GPO (1D: Mail ctr.)? I guess it's short for "General Post Office," but it's not a thing I know. NGO (49D: CARE, e.g., for short) is non-governmental organization, right? Why don't we just call those things "organizations?" GTS (37D: Some high-speed cars)... meh.

But really, these are things that I will tolerate happily for the rest of the grid. Overall, I really liked this one. Here's hoping it's an auspicious omen for the rest of the month!

- Horace

1 comment:

  1. I like this one well enough just because I finished it with no errors. That seemed in doubt for a while. The NE and the SE really took me a long time and a couple different sittings. OLDELI, LADMAG, RISKY, LYN, and even HBOMB--for some reason I was stuck on aBOMB and then for some strange reason switched to nBOMB-- gave me a lot of trouble. Who really ever uses the word "parlous"?? Not knowing BANA hurt down in the other corner. I also took too long on QUITS and SURVEY, both of which I love, especially the latter since I'm such a big Steve Harvey on Family Feud fan! But finally it all came together and I was able to avoid a birthday DNF. I agree with most of your critique. I'm sure someone over at Rex's place referred to FREEUNION as a "green paint" answer. I would add the aforementioned LYN, the ridiculous REE, OHH, TEM, and EEN to your list of lousy threes. And why no mention of the first thing I entered into the grid??? The great YAZ! Also, I loved the misdirection of "Cobbler waste;" weren't you thinking leather scraps? "What's up for grabs?" was cute. Clue for BURLY ("Musclebound") doesn't seem quite right. Didn't like ARENTI either. I give it a thumbs up for a handful of nice clues and for a tough challenge for this solver.