Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday, November 6, 2015, Ian Livengood


This was a delicious romp of a themeless. This is Mr. Livengood's fiftieth published NYT crossword, and it's a keeper, for sure.

I thought things were going to incredibly fast when I filled in the NW corner in under a minute, rare for me on many counts. I threw in TSPS, and then got 17A: Treatment for peptic ulcers (PRILOSEC). The rest filled in quickly. 1A: "Given the aforementioned..." (THATSAID) is fun and a great intro to the puzzle. I give it an A-. However, even though I exited the corner with 4D: Dotted line? (TELEGRAPH) - very nice - I had to move elsewhere despite ___RY at 24A. In retrospect, the ANGRY was obvious.

I jumped to the NE, where 11D: Like many comic con attendees (NERDY) is becoming less true, I think, with each passing year and massive Hollywood and HBO presence. I actually had NERDs for a split second, until 23A: Home of the Beinecke Library (YALE) showed me wrong. Am I right, Frannie? Shout out!

BERLIN gave me NOBIGDEAL, and entree into the middle, with the three outstanding long answers, 30A: "Sorry, it was nothing" (FALSEALARM), 35A: Comment from one who's completely flexible (IMUPFORWHATEVER), and 37A: Pole game (TETHERBALL). I love the conversational nature of these answers, and the last one was surprisingly tough.

Ignoring CARBARN (whose definition is literally the clue, but of which I am nonetheless unfond), there's the outstanding FOREIGNER, clued to the band, in large part, I assume, because of 54A: Something an alien may have (WORKVISA). I enjoyed 53A: Cell transmitter (NEURON), although I'm not sure the clue is precisely accurate - I'd be more inclined to call it a transmitting cell; the clue points more towards a hormone or a molecule such as glutamine or acetylcholine... anyway...

LEGOMOVIE was fine, although I'm sad the "the" is in the clue instead of the grid. Yes, we get YSER, AVES, and IRES, but on the whole, it's a great puzzle.

My favorite clue-answer pair is 34D: Stable character of old TV (MRED). Or maybe it's 41A: 2015 Super Bowl winners, familiarly (PATS). Can't go wrong with either one.

- Colum


  1. 14:32

    When we lived in Cambridge, there was a CARBARN across the street at the northern terminus of the 77 North Cambridge line. We used that term all the time. Those were the days. Now, like good New Englanders, we refer to that location as "the place where the car barn used to be." Or maybe it's still there... what do I know?

    I, too, loved this one. You've CALLA'd out much of the good stuff already, but I'll just mention SPEEDOS (19A: Small suits), HINDLEG (20A: Something to stand on?) and the hilarious 56A: Mitch Hedberg's "Im against picketing, but I don't know how to show it," e.g. (ONELINER) as examples of the fine clueing that abounds in this puzzle.

    Thumbs up!

  2. 31:38
    Growing up, my family had a dog that had the MANGE. Funny it crossed with HINGLEG. Not knowing the location of the referenced library, and having entered the aforementioned (by Colum) NERDs incorrectly at 11D, the NE was the last to fall for me. I also didn't know of an ORIEL, nor have I ever heard of Mark OMEARA. The rest of the puzzle went quickly, though. SPEEDOS (or more accurately, the singular) are something seen way too often around the YBH area. DOSED could have had a reverse LSD clue and PANIC could have referred to the HHGTTG, but I'll let both pass. It was nice to see Spirit mentioned in the grid, connected with MARS, but I'm now ready for MRED to appear at any time, and entered it with no crosses. Overall I'd give this a thumbs up, too.