Saturday, February 20, 2016

Saturday, February 20, 2016, James Mulhern


Frannie and I solved this one side-by-side on the couch this morning with our coffee. We both wanted "fixed gear" for FIXIEBIKE (17A: Single-speed two-wheeler) (it's either "fixed gear" or just "fixie") and "earpiece" for EARPHONE (14D: Bit of Secret Service gear), and it was a while before Frannie remembered REMARQUE (12D: "All Quiet on the Western Front" novelist). I tried "Bea" for DEE (44A: Girl's name that sounds like a letter)... but slowly things worked themselves out.

We bristled at a few answers, but BRISTLES (35D: What toothpaste goes on) wasn't one of them. XIPHOID (43D: ____ process (sternum part)), on the other hand, is pretty far outside the ken of most solvers, I'd be willing to bet. SIXTHS (3D: Pie wedges in Trivial Pursuit, e.g.) seemed awkward, as did NANA (38D: Babe watcher, maybe). Does that refer to "Babe," the movie? And DIKTATS (8D: Orders) was another toughie! Queen ALETA? And what the heck is a RENTROLL (36D: Lessor's log)?

But we can't complain about things we don't know. Not on a Saturday. That's what Saturday is all about. Let's focus instead on the things we did enjoy, like OFFYOUGO (37D: "Run along now!"), BUTLER (26D: Murder mystery staple), EPIDERMIS (15A: It has you covered), STATUSQUO (29A: The way it is), and AJAX (42A: Homer's "bulwark of the Achaeans"). 1A: Lives the dream (HASITMADE) is quite good. Let's hand out another A- for that one. And my favorite clue/answer might be ELGAR (64A: Master of the King's Music under George V) for the clue alone.

Two more things - BERTH (26A: Salt sack?) ("sailor's bed") and LOB (31A: Alley-oop starter) (basketball reference), were both pretty tricky.

Some bad, but more good, I guess, today, and the grid is nice and open, so let's give it a thumb's up.

- Horace


  1. 17:58 (FWOE)

    And I'm back! Had a fun time in downtown Los Angeles. There really is no there there. But I did get to see the Clippers beat the Spurs, which was a lot of fun.

    XIPHOID was my third entry after LAMAR and IDI (although I misspelled it as XyPHOID for a while). APTS and ATONAL followed. I made my error at the crossing of BONEHEADS and BMI. I tried cONEHEADS. It seemed reasonable, and cMI was obviously some abbreviation I'd not heard of, so I went with it. BRISTLES was clued so strangely, I loved it! And Horace, it should be STATUSQUO, note "statuesque". Stupid autocorrect. I think NANA is simply the nanny who watches the baby. I liked this Saturday fine. I'm going to go back and comment on other puzzles now.

    1. Thanks. That should be fixed now. Stupid auto-correct.

      Also: Shih-poo! Just look at that thing!

  2. 42:57
    This was a great Saturday. Could NANA refer to the dog in Peter Pan? I knew XIPHOID right off of the clue, but misspelled it as zyPHOID for a short while. BERTH was excellent, as was AMINUS (7D Third grade?). I, too, loved ELGAR and AJAX. BROSNAN was a good throwback answer, and MIAMIVICE (65A Cry after "Freeze!" on a 1980s TV show) is awesome. I enjoyed the "Poor Richard's Almanack" reference, too, although I had to get most of the crosses for the answer. Not much not to like in here.

  3. 14:35
    A RENTROLL is simply a list of tenants in an apartment building or across one's real estate rental holdings. A lot of things, like that, fell into place for us on this one.

    I'm surprised no mention, particularly from Huygens, of HEFNER, our second entry after ECHO, which led directly to EPIDERMIS...

    1. Well, I figured it was something like that, but I still would argue that it is not too familiar to non-landlords & landladies.

      Also, nice time!