Saturday, September 19, 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015, Kevin Adamick

Untimed (FWOE)

Completed this with my mother in NYC, always an enjoyable endeavor. There are so many answers I'd never have gotten without her, CANTONESE being a prime example. Although, she said she thought it had eight phonetic tones! What do I know from Chinese dialects.

The grid is one of my least favorite kinds. I think I might have mentioned this sort of thing before in this space, but when you have connectors between the areas of single letters, the puzzle devolves into four separate mini-puzzles. And on a Saturday, I like to have a little bit more to work with as I go from area to area.

Then, too, there are some entries I take issue with. NONACTIVE (40A: Like silent partners) is probably technically correct: I do see the difference between it and "inactive", but I just don't like the word. Then, EYESHADES, right beneath it seemed a strange term. Of course we wanted "sleep mask". I'm also not a fan of AUTOCADES (10D: They're often escorted by police). That's clearly meant to be "motorcades" but there just weren't enough letters.

We completed the puzzle in pencil and breathed a sigh of relief when it was done. My mother, however, suggested I should put it in the iPad to make sure we got it all correct. And lo and behold, up came the message that there was an error. I don't know how many people out there know the various subfamilies of the falcon species, but CARACeRAS seemed perfectly reasonable. And MeNAT-arms worked just as well as MANAT. I'm calling it a Natick and giving us a mulligan. All those who disagree can just keep their comments to themselves, thank you.

On the good side, however, there was plenty to enjoy today. 1A: Dream acquisitions for huge fans (VIPPASSES) is outstanding, and merits an A from me. I like both the clue and the unusual nature of the answer, with its initials. The TETRA/PENTA pairing was highly unusual. The only consecutive numbers I could think of in the English language that fit that 5-letter pairing were "seven" and "eight", but those didn't work.

8D: Like addition, vis-a-vis division (EASIER) got a laugh-out-loud moment. We were also fond of 9D: Private eye in dozens of novels (SPENSER) for our long being fans, and for the series being set in Boston. I expect Frannie enjoyed that also. Remember, with an S, like the poet! 44D: It's left in a manuscript (VERSO) is excellent, especially because it lacks a question mark.

We had fun doing it, and were very proud of ourselves once it was done, so I'm giving it a thumbs up.

- Colum


  1. So chunky! No threes and only two fours - am I right about that? Seems unbelievable. And yes, there isn't much connection between the four quadrants, but I guess I don't mind that as much as you do. I do, as you do, dislike AUTOCADES and NONACTIVE. I also don't particularly love SCENARIST (11D: Movie plotter), but maybe that's a thing... who knows? I'm not going to be the one to look it up.

    ASAMA (Central Honshu volcano), SANTAROSA (Home of the West Coast's Empire College), NANCE (Jack of "Twin Peaks"), ESTES (Longtime maker of model rockets), PETES (____ Tavern, Manhattan pub that's over 150 years old), and NANETTE (Lepore of women's fashion) were all unknowns. Don't love TOYERS as "Flirty types," but I suppose it's not totally off.

  2. 39:12
    I don't mind NONACTIVE at all, since that's the correct term, but I have to agree on AUTOCADES. Once again, the SW is where my trouble was; the rest of the puzzle was finished in twelve minutes. 14D One doing a dissection (ANALYZER) was excellent, and I agree with Colum on his "A" rating for VIPPASSES.