Saturday, September 5, 2015

Saturday, September 5, 2015, Byron Walden

52:35 (FWOE)


This was rough going from start to finish for me, and I had to enlist the help of everybody in my family. Thank goodness, because consensus came up with HOPONPOP for 1A: Book whose last line is "Ask me tomorrow but not today". I give this clue-answer pair an A for the Dr. Seuss reference and the use of the line, whose rhythm immediately reminds me of the late great kids' book writer.

I put PORN in with a wince and a nod to Huygens. OMOO and NFL helped give me IMONFIRE, but FORELEGS took forever to come. ORGEATS is a really unpleasant word in the grid, and took us forever to decide on. And this is the theme of this themeless, in my opinion. Each section is made harder by something that's either unfair, simply peculiar, or really crafty cluing.

Even though I got KUMBAYA, ORION, and KOALAS, the long downs in the NE all fought against me. Perhaps it was because I tried ANGLicized for ANGLOPHONE at 13D: Like Grenada, but not Grenada (the first A is long, the second short). Turns out this means they speak English there, which is true. I was stuck on the difference in pronunciation.

I was also hurt by putting in PUTanendto at 35A: Halted (PUTTOANEND). I don't like that phrasing, and have never heard it that way. But it didn't hold me up for long. I wanted the NYC sewer at 39D: Home to 15-foot-long crocodiles (ORINOCO). Turns out that most Orinoco crocodiles average 13 feet long in the males, but they can be as long as 17 feet, so I guess technically. Not that that would have helped me. Had to get the answer via crosses.

PERRYMASON was one of our last answers, because the clue is really tricky (Street boss?). See, Della Street worked for him. Hidden capital, and very little context. BOBBYRIGGS is a nice full name just two answers over; I'd forgotten just how old he was at the time of the famous Battle of the Sexes in 1973 (55 years old!).

26A: Pool house? (BAPTISTERY) was very nice and very hard to get. I had ____IS_ERY, and tried putting an H in that last blank (crossing the above referenced unknown almond liqueur), leading us down a "fishery" route, like a hut on a frozen lake. The actual answer is much better. 30A: Turgenev's birthplace (ORELRUSSIA) was also hard, because even though I had Russia, I had no idea what 4-letter town would be correct.

My one error came at 47A, where I had FAd in place from earlier, and thought dART could work for 49D: Biting (TART). BTW, I am dropping my analysis of the last down answer, because it is often a short and uninteresting entry. This time, though, 53D: What's the point? (DOT) at least has a cute clue.

- Colum


  1. Loved, loved, loved this puzzle. I thought it was very tough, clever, and erudite. It's everything I want in a Saturday. I didn't put HOPONPOP in right away, but its clue was knocking around in my brain the whole time I was solving this thing. I knew it sounded familiar and pretty soon I decided it was probably the Good Dr. But, hell, it's been many years since the last of my many readings of that work. "Treacly spirit of unity" is top flight cluing! So is "Grinders" for PESTLES. I was with your difficulty on the Grenada-Granada thing, Colum. I too thought the answer would refer to the derivations of the names. About time somebody did something interesting in the cluing of OMOO! PIEJESU! The more I look this over, the more I like it. There's one bit of weak fill, that's it, just one. URE for "Script ending" could have been a little stronger. This might be my new favorite puzzle of the year. Who IS this Byron Walden???

  2. 74:57 (FWTE)
    This had some tough, I'd even say unfair, crosses. PIEJESU and ORGEATS with BAPTISTERY?!?! The rest was fine. I entered HOPONPOP immediately, having read that quite a number of times (it was often requested), and FORELEGS came in slowly for me, too. I was thinking of the fist bump of human boxers and put in FOREarmS at first, but of course nothing would work out on the crosses. However, given the two aforementioned downs, it took a long time to correct. I enjoyed the cluing for BERLE, but never heard of ONONDAGA (51A Upstate New York tribe) or RYCOODER (55A Guitar virtuoso...). Anyway, I'm not complaining; I, too, like a difficult Saturday. (Colum, I read this Saturday blog after commenting on the Sunday, and you answered my question about the final down rating that was missing in Sunday's above.)

  3. 1:38:35

    A friend let us use his hotspot for the time necessary to download this puzzle, and then Frannie and I solved it together on the porch, asking others for help from time to time. Frannie got PERRYMASON without crosses, and our friend Rob knew ONONDAGA from a regional library that he visits occasionally for work. Rob also confirmed RYCOODER, and another friend got OMOO and IMONFIRE with only a cross or two. But even with all that help, this one, as you see, took us quite a while.

    Much of the good has already been mentioned, but I just have to call out KUMBAYA again as being excellent in both clue and answer.

    Surprised to not see a photo of a GNOMON.

    1. Like a garden GNOMON? JK. You shouldn't be surprised because Firenze.