Saturday, January 30, 2016

Saturday, January 30, 2016, Samuel A. Donaldson and Brad Wilber

25:04 (FWOE)

Wow, what a tough pair of themelesses we got yesterday and today. There were segments of this puzzle I was completely lost in for a while, and some words I needed every cross to get.

The NW corner is a thing of beauty. 1A: One of a trio in a children's story (MAMABEAR) gets us off with a bang. I give it a B-, if only because the clue is so straightforward, and the answer difficult simply because there's so much to choose from. I love 15A: Lacking sides (ALACARTE). I did not pick up on the menu reference until it was essentially completely filled in from the crosses. And 19A: Mixing and matching? (SPEEDDATING) is cute.

I actually broke into the puzzle with 9A: Bar order after a very hard day, maybe (DOUBLE), which does sound good, right about now. LETHE was also a gimme, but ETHAN I never would have gotten except that how many men's names in a Western fit E___A_? 10D: Shorts popular in the 1920s and '30s (OURGANG) got me completely. I was stuck on the clothing. My one error came in this section, at the crossing of DAWNRAID and AUKLET. I had DoWNRAID, which really doesn't make any sense, but there you go.

I remember books with BLACKSTONE's magic in them. I don't know if I owned any (magic was mostly my oldest brother's domain), but it helped recall the name. VISIGOTHS I got without a cross, although I tried to stick "ostrogoths" and "vandals" in there first. VIZSLA I needed every cross.

I had the hardest time with the SW corner. I got the section above without too much trouble (although it took me way too long to figure out OBAMAS - who else could it have been?). 28D: What isn't working? (METIME) is great, both the clue and the answer. But I couldn't see ABSTAINERS, even with the ABST___ set up for me. I was stuck on "abstract art" or something, which doesn't even make sense, because why would that be dry?

I don't know SPIEGEL as a line of clothing, but rather as Der Spiegel, the newspaper. SICEM was hard to see (I had "fetch" for about 2 seconds), and all three of the 6-letter across answers were tough to pick up.

The SE corner, however, is maybe better than the NW, with 54A: Following the beat? (ONPATROL) being the best.

Phew! Tough going, but fun.

- Colum


  1. 36:03
    After entering the first three Across clues immediately (ok, I might have had pApABEAR in there for a minute or so before MAWS and MARE were filled in), I completed the NW fairly quickly, but then things ground down to a halt. I put in a smattering of guesses and passed it over to Frannie. When it came back to me there were only ten squares or so left to fill in. It had been a while since we passed one back and forth, but the method still seems to work quite well. I wonder if they'll let us do that at the ACPT? :)

    I can almost remember seeing SPIEGEL catalogs at our house when I was growing up, but more recently I think of the word as Dutch (and German, I'm guessing) for "mirror."

    I'm learning so much about the stock market this week. First "par value" and now DAWNRAID. And next to that, the clue for OURGANG got me, too. That's a great clue. And beside that, UKE (It might be picked for a song) got a pretty good clue, too!

    We enjoyed this one quite a bit.

  2. It took me 43:26 to realize this is a DNF. That SW had me flummoxed because I'd never heard of SPIEGEL, didn't know VIZSLA or 43D ___-Novo (capital on the Gulf of Guinea), whatever that is (PORT---something?). Oh well, it happens.