Thursday, December 24, 2015

Friday, December 25, 2015, Mary Lou Guizzo and Jeff Chen


What a nice Christmas present from Ms. Guizzo and Mr. Chen. The longer fill in this is outstanding! SEAMONSTER (17A: Scylla, e.g.) (which I put in off the clue, thank you very much!), HALFCOCKED (27A: Impetuous) (which I did not), OPERACAPE, TELENOVELA (54A: Latin American soap), and CHORTLED (34D: Laughed gleefully) are just some of the excellent entries. At one point I had "N_LO_..." for "11D: Deceptive court move," and I tried to fit in "nolo contendere." Ha! See, one could think of that as a tricky move in a courtroom... but no, it's NOLOOKPASS.

And on top of all that we have the fine mini theme of STNICHOLAS (6D: "A right jolly old elf") and CANDYCANES (29D: Four things represented visually in this puzzle's grid). Did you notice that "Santa Claus" fits perfectly into that first space? Well, it does, but it doesn't work perfectly with the crosses, I happen to know... :) Along with those two entries we have the candy cane shapes in the black squares, which allows for, or perhaps requires, four unchecked squares, and they spell out XMAS. Beautiful. I guess SLED (59A: Traditional Yule gift) is thematic as well, but it's not paired with anything symmetrically, so maybe it's not "officially" part of the theme. I'm not sure what the rules are.

It's a little odd, maybe, to have HALFCOCKED and TOKE (23A: Quick hit) in a Christmassy puzzle, but, well, I don't care. This is just so damned good that I give it a FREERIDE.

1A: Hurdle for a doc (BOARDS). B. Unusual, but not great.
Favorite clue/answer - How to choose? Maybe "38A: Like much court testimony" (REHEARSED). Not terribly clever, perhaps, but there was still an "aha" moment, which I enjoyed.


Merry Christmas!

- Horace


  1. 42:54 (FWOE)
    Sheesh, good time, Horace! I was held up for a bit because of the SaNtaclauS thing at 6D, and made my error at the cross of ELI/ALI, which I consider unfair. 58A Opposite of the point? (ERASER) is good, as was the aforementioned TOKE and HALFCOCKED. I didn't notice the XMAS thing - very nice. I seem to remember ALHIRT regarding the Green Hornet, but it took a couple of crosses, and I enjoyed KGBSPIES, too (20A Red moles), which could have been more gross, but thankfully wasn't. Also, nice that MOTH was indicated as a hole maker instead of the usual awl. I'm working today, but don't feel bad for me.

  2. 12:36
    I too put in SaNtacluaS, which slowed the NW down. HEARNOEVIL is weird all on its own. I really enjoyed TELENOVELA, which I did not at all expect for some reason. Like I could ever know a brand of soap from Latin America. My favorite was SMARTCAR. Good puzzle overall.