Thursday, October 22, 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015, Evan Birnholz


I thought I was off to a good start when I put COWTIPPING (1A: Rural activity in an urban legend) in immediately (Just one of the many benefits of going to college in Wisconsin.), but then I tried "byob" for 11A: Acronym in casual dining (IHOP) (I wasn't thinking that casual!) ... it wasn't right, of course, but it does demonstrate nicely what this puzzle was like for me. I felt good, so I was putting in answers very quickly, sometimes with no backup at all, and sometimes they panned out, as with OPART (30A: Looking at it for a long time might make your head hurt) and PLAYBOYMAGAZINE (50A: Source of a controversial 1976 Jimmy Carter interview), and sometimes they didn't, as with "color" for 23A: "The breath of art," per Frank Lloyd Wright (SPACE) (a much better answer), and "hash" for 46A: ____ marks (SKID) (eww!).

Anyway, I loved it. There's just so much great, interesting, unusual fill in here. To start with, 1A gets an A. TRANSOMS (34D: Architectural crosspieces) is nice, BARQS (29D: Dad's rival) is delicious, JUICY (31D: Like some details) is fun, and FBOMB (37D: Impolite thing to drop) is fan-effing-tastic! The grid looks great with its expansive NW and SE corners and the wide swath running up through the middle, and there's very little to complain about.

Loved the cluing, loved the fill, loved the grid - loved it.

- Horace


  1. 14:37

    Yes, this is an outstanding themeless. I tried "meme" at 1D (CAFE) and "roam" at 3D (WEND), so the NW corner didn't come into focus for some time. I too wanted "byob" at 11A (IHOP). But these were my only real errors. Once I corrected them, the rest of the puzzle moved along at a reasonable clip. I love HAAGENDAZS, misspelling and all. And you didn't even mention how the two words with Q in them avoid the usual U pairing. It's a little unfortunate that they're both brand names, but so well established I didn't mind. Is twerking really a DANCECRAZE? I hope never to see it in real life. On the whole, the puzzle skewed a bit old (except FANTASYFOOTBALL - mind you, you never draft an END in fantasy. A tight end, yes, but not an end in the usual sense of the word). The LARAMS is also an old reference. Cece provided me with DEREK. She's been watching Grey's Anatomy on Netflix. Lord, but the medicine in that show is flat out awful. Guess that's not actually the point of the series.

  2. 39:04
    I've never seen Grey's Anatomy, so I needed three of the five letters to guess DEREK. I never heard of an AMENCORNER, either. Sue seems to know of SUZYQ, but I needed all of the crosses for it. BUST (35D Complete dud) didn't have the clue that I would have given it. This puzzle, on the whole, though, hit many SWEETSPOTS. Thumbs up.

  3. Day after Thanksgiving: Well, I stared at it for 15-20 minutes and got WIND for meander. Dad, working separately, got a few things, including ROAM for meander. Susan took Dad's copy and got COWTIPPING right away, claiming that Dad's ROAM must be wrong. After another half-hour or so, I got KIRK. Eventually, they got quite a few more.