Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015, James Mulhern

21:12 (FWOE)

I finished much of this puzzle in about 10 minutes, but the SW corner really did me in, and all because of one entry I couldn't see was wrong. And even after I corrected it and filled in the corner, my mistake was somewhere else.

Anyway, 1A: Product of Champagne county (PINOTNOIR) starts us off with a bang. I've moved away from that varietal recently, appreciating other French grapes, such as Gigondas and Cotes du Rhone, but the first truly great wine I ever recognized as great was a pinot, at a wine bar in NYC. I suspect I'd had other really good wines prior to that, but I wasn't as aware of them. I give this first clue-entry pair an A-.

I actually broke into the grid at 19A with AMINoS. I later changed it to the correct AMINES. When I put YANG in, PAPAYA was obvious. It took me longer than it ought to have to recall PAVAROTTI's name. I knew who it was, but my brain was stuck on Enrico Caruso, who could certainly have gotten a large number of curtain calls, but who could never have won a Grammy.

I spun out of the NW (rare for me to finish that corner completely first) with INTERNET____. I didn't know yet what they were getting at, but that was enough to find a toehold in the middle of the grid. I guessed that 32A: So-called (but not really) would start with "quasi". Strangely enough, although I was wrong, I got the QU right, which opened up some space. I love QUOTEUNQUOTE, and DOUBLETROUBLE and TOSOMEDEGREE are both excellent entries as well.

I was so proud of myself for knowing 21D: Heroine of "Fidelio" (LEONORE) - Beethoven's various overtures to that ill-fated opera are sometimes called the Leonore overtures - that I failed to notice that I'd chosen to end her name with an A. And since I still don't understand 38A: 2.0s (CEES), the fact that I had that answer wrong didn't register at all. There's my error.

I don't love the NE - PORNO was obvious from the clue, and IONE, ETNA, and ODO are the worst of the entries in the puzzle. The SE, however, is very good. 58A: Ones getting a Bronx cheer, for short? (NYYANKEES) is good, and MOGADISHU is an unusual entry. I had put "NPR" in at 39A: Certain fund drive holder, for short (PTA), even though I knew that Schnabel's first name was Artur. Once I fixed that, the rest of the corner went.

My problem in the SW was that I'd entered AciDIC for 37A: Like certain battery ends (ANODIC). It was only after staring at it for, oh, I don't know, eight minutes, that I realized OSOLEMIO. It didn't help that I'd put Strip in for SLOTS at the bottom.

- Colum


  1. 23:09 (FWOE)
    Not surprising that CEES would confuse you, since you probably never got any. I'm pretty sure that with "2.0s" they're talking about G.P.A.s. My error came in an area very close to that. I entered "fARSEE" as a wild guess, then didn't check fTA before finishing. Ahh well...

    Overal, though, I liked this one, too. I had to walk away from it at least a couple times before I finally got through it. INUNDATE (13D: Swamp), AMERICANA (15A: Diners and drive-in theaters), DONEDEAL (34D: It's all sewn up), and BRINK (45D: Lip) were some I liked in addition to the many you have already CITED.

    I tried Edith Piaf where PAVAROTTI went. I figured those French might be crazy enough to call her out that many times, and I hadn't yet gotten to the "Grammy" part. In fact, I got OSOLEMIO before I got PAVAROTTI. And I had ANODal for a little while. And "eek" where the much better RUN (48A: Shout in a disaster movie) should have been.

    A pretty clean Friday overall, with an above average level of very good fill.

  2. DNF from this quarter. Pretty rare on a Friday. I was Naticked at the crossing of PARSEE and BAER. I can't recall ever hearing of either. The A would have been my third choice after the I I put in and an E. Wouldn't "Bugs Beer" be a cool appellation? I did love this grid, though. All of the major stacks are terrific. I always enjoy seeing PORNO in a puzzle, but I agree with Colum that the cluing was quite lackluster--awful, really, for a Friday. I mean why put in PORNO if you're not going to have some fun with it?

  3. 30:03 (FWOE)
    My error was the PARSEE/BAER cross mentioned by ET59. ODO should have been clued with a DSN reference. GAY marriage is a timely entry (I don't know that I've seen the word "GAY" in a grid before now). I agree on the terribleness of the PORNO clue. SPIN crossing POLECAR and being adjacent to OILCAN is a nice touch. I liked 14D Zip (NOTAONE), but not INTERNETECONOMY (8D Google and Alibaba are parts of it) so much.