We spent an awful lot of time today up in the NW corner. RAYE (2D: Comedian once called the Female Bob Hope) next to IVES (3D: "A Little Bitty Tear" singer, 1962), next to SYS (Awacs component: Abbr.), next to HJHEINZ (5D: "It's red magic time!" sloganeer, once), next to JOANNE (6D: Part of J. K. Rowling's "J. K.") was a pretty tough block. Even after I knew it was Heinz, I wasn't sure about the HJ part, and what's the story with Awacs not being in all caps? Was that a mistake? It Googles up with all caps. Luckily, Frannie knew JOANNE, and she had also heard of Martha RAYE, but only after we got the whole thing. And AES (19A: J.F.K.'s U.N. ambassador) is pretty tough, too!
Anyway, that probably took us half the time today. The rest of it went along fairly smoothly. 12D: Not pass the bar? (RUNAGROUND) is pretty nice, as is 37A: One fixing flats? (TUNER). Not even on Saturday will they lose the questions marks, though. Oh well. Pretty tough clue for KERN today, using the second definition - 31D: Typeface projection. And speaking of tough, I left "twisT" in for quite a long time for "27D: Oliver of stage and screen" (PLATT). Who's ever heard of Oliver Platt? Oh wait, I just looked him up. I know that guy! I guess I just never knew his name. Oops! Sorry, Mr. Platt.
52A: One playing to the balcony? (SERENADER) (again with the question mark!) was cute, as was 39D: Inn in an inlet, say (BOATEL). Frannie and I once stayed in a BOATEL, or, really, a "bostel," because it was actually a youth hostel that was housed on a boat in Stockholm. I wonder if that's still in operation?
Anyway, some clues were pretty obscure - JUNIPEROIL (26D: Aromatherapy option), LUISE (23D: Rainer of "The Great Ziegfeld"), and that whole NW - but overall, the fill was high quality. Thumbs up.
That NW was insanely difficult. HJHEINZ? Wow. I had JOANNE in from the start, but couldn't see JINX. I had JuNk there, which made 7D next to impossible to figure out. Plus who remembers that Adlai Stevenson was JFK's ambassador to the UN? Come on. That's over 50 years ago for a piece of "Huh?" trivia.
Still very solid grid, even if it has BOATEL in it.
Agree about the NW, which took me a full half-hour to fill in. EYESHADOW finally gave me something to grip up there.18A Vacation rental (CANOE) was not the answer I expected. Nice to see ETIQUETTE spelled out, and 29A Shooter with a spark (FLINTLOCK) is also great. BOATEL is a term I haven't seen for awhile. Sue and I spent a night aboard the "Samuel Slater" riverboat once. AES is common fill, but it was nicely clued. UNREELS probably is not a term that is used any longer.
Good hard Saturday. I too had "One fixing flats" starred. Great misdirection! I thought I was all over it by thinking about the British definition of "flats." "Super," maybe. Same with "Not pass the bar:' I had to go to my third definition for that one. Clever stuff. The other one I had marked was "Search facilitator." You know I'm a sucker for that old school stuff. Yeah, Huygens, I wasn't sure about UNREELS either. I can't say that I've ever heard it used. Theaters haven't gotten reels in ages, have they? It's a nice anachronism, I suppose. I had forgotten that Gabe Kaplan's character was also named Gabe. We watched the show some--not religiously--but I have always loved the theme song. Thumbs up.ReplyDelete