Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday, October 9, 2015, David Steinberg


Well, we did finish, but not without errors. We tried EtH for EDH (24A: Old English letter) and dAR for SAR (35A: Patriotic org. founded in 1889). Stupid mistake on our part, as the D.A.R. was founded in 1890. Duh!

Crossing those mistakes were NOBID (14D: Like some shady contracts, from an auditor's standpoint) - a tortured reference to the sphere of professional bridge playing, I'm guessing - and OSAMA (29D: Former cave dweller, informally) - which I find to be distastefully clued. And speaking of clues that left a bad taste - 43A: Spray source (UZI) was another one. Spray? Really? Gross.

I guess the clueing throughout put us off of this one. 60A: Risk territory west of Siberia (URAL) seems unnecessarily obscure. For 44D: Sharp knocks (ZINGS), "dings," "pings," or even "bings," could have worked and might even have been better. And if you're going to put both IDYLL and ODE in a puzzle, why cross reference only one of them to POEM?

I suppose I should just LETGO and enjoy the several nice long Down answers. TRATTORIA (31D: Mediterranean bistro) will no doubt remind Colum of his recent stay in Italy, and ARGYLES (4D: Holders of diamonds?), despite its questionable clue, is a nice word. BITCOIN (40D: Modern transaction unit) is good and current, though I wonder just how many transactions are transacted using them.

On the bright clue side, I liked 33D: Starbuck's order giver (AHAB). Overall, though, neither of us particularly enjoyed this one.

- Horace


  1. Color me DNF also. I too had errors where you had them. I thought OdAMA was wrong, but I also find OSAMA to be in very poor taste. I had dINGS instead of ZINGS. NOBID is a reference to contracts that are given out to companies without any competition, thus making them shady. Not bridge, I don't believe.

    And I was all set to like this puzzle, given PLAYBOYMANSION and TOPLESSDANCERS. Those are some marquee answers. The rest of the puzzle did not live up to it.

  2. Forgot about the 1A rating again. RATA, as clued, gets a D. Probably should be a D-, but I'm feeling generous.

  3. I think "sharp knocks" is meant as "clever put-downs or criticisms."

    1. Perhaps so. I guess I should cut him some slack.

  4. 24:18 (DNF)
    For the same reasons as Horace and Colum: OdAMA, pINGS and SATSaMA, dAR; I just made some bad guesses and didn't understand the OSAMA clue properly. Other than that, this went fast. PLAYBOYMANSION deserved a star from me and 61A "Big _____" (comic strip) (NATE) is one of my current favorites about which I have frequent discussions with Horace's father, the most recent being this very morning. I thought it a fine Friday because of stuff like BUSIER (9D Comparatively ornamented), the full ORANGEADE, TOPLESSDANCERS, AIRHOCKEY, ONIONROLL...good fill.