Saturday, December 12, 2015

Saturday, December 12, 2015, Byron Walden


Another fun themeless! Beginning with 1A: Light shower (PRISM) (A), we're off and running. I love the surprisingly literal clue for SMITH (17A: Skilled forger), and the simplicity of "20A: How the operas 'Artaxerxes' and 'Iolanthe' are usually performed" (INENGLISH). What's more - OPERATIVE (16A: Private detective) is perfect for us because we just finished watching "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" (Gary Oldman is very good) less than an hour ago.

I wasn't fooled one bit by "2D: Balcony address?" (ROMEOROMEO), and from the R in MORAY I guessed IRISHPOUND (3D: One of the currencies replaced by the euro in 2002). GRENOBLOISE (9D: In a sauce of browned butter, capers, parsley and lemon), on the other hand, took several crosses. I will, however, be seeking out and sampling all dishes with titles using that modifier the next time I am in France. Another one that took me way too long was BRAHMS (25A: "Hungarian Dances" composer). I could only think of Dvorak, which didn't help at all. I'm guessing that if Colum beats me by five minutes, at least three or four of them will be because he got that answer off the clue.

Nice pair of "tone" clues ("lose tone" and "lose tones?") leading to SAG and GODEAF. And speaking of that, I didn't particularly love the "ear malady" mini-theme of that last one and OTITIS.

I tried proudWOMAN, then nakedWOMAN, before getting HORSEWOMAN for 27D: Lady Godiva, for one. Sort of arbitrary, that. Like CUPSOFCOCOA and OPENCOILS, but I don't really mind. This was a fun puzzle with very little junk. Even PMS got a somewhat more interesting clue (1D: Residents of 24 Sussex Dr. in Ottowa).

Favorite clue/answer? 4D: Job tester (SATAN). No question mark. Excellent.

- Horace


  1. 36:32
    I wasn't fooled by much, either, but was also thinking Dvorak instead of BRAHMS. The East coast was a bit tricky, but once I had a few crosses for the __MAGAZINE part of MSMAGAZINE, it fell within a couple of minutes. My problem was in the center because I didn't think at all of OTITIS, I tried ems instead of REI, wanted medIa____ in place of ANTIPRESS (at first, before I filled in the South) and GRENOBLOISE is completely foreign to me. The rest was pretty easy. Who knew that JOHNMCENROE trivia? I guess he can't be President.

  2. 14:31
    And it was all because of BRAHMS. Who can complain? My all-time fave composer. Dvorak wrote the Slavonic Dances. BTW, Brahms did not compose the themes of most of those Hungarian Dances: he took folk tunes and orchestrated them (brilliantly, of course). I'd say there are a number of arbitrary phrases here, but I liked most of them. SCURRYAWAY and CUPSOFCOCOA are fine with me. I wanted Cocoadrinks there for a while, mostly because I'd mistyped GODEAF as GODEAd.

    Love JOLIEPITT. I couldn't see it for the longest time, and it wasn't until JUNGLEGYM fell that I saw it. Great clues, fine answers, thumbs up from me.

    1. Also wanted to mention that I got entry into the grid through three crosswordese answers: ARP, NENE, and ESAU. These things really help to get started sometimes.