Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday, May 13, 2016, David Phillips and David Steinberg


Holy cow. What a wonderful Friday themeless this one is. I was impressed by every aspect of the grid.

I broke into the puzzle with 1D: Jeremy of "Entourage" (PIVEN), a gimme for me, anyway. This led to the only answer I'm down on, EZINE. But then I broke the long acrosses. How great is it that all three of them end in -S, but are not actually plurals? They each require that S to work. 1A: Bedroom set piece? (PAJAMABOTTOMS) gets an A both for clue and answer.

I didn't know IMAGINEDRAGONS by their album name, but my daughter saw them last summer and has a T-shirt, so the answer came to me pretty quickly. VANESSAWILLIAMS is likewise great, with her full name represented.

I moved down the upper diagonal but couldn't break the SW corner yet. In the NE, SNAREDRUM (excellent) and STEVENS (also great) came fine, but I put in SMARTies (?!) at 15D: Little something for the road? I mean, yes, they are little, but why would they be specifically for the road? SMARTCAR came later, and I love love love that entry.

So I had to restart in the middle of the bottom section. From TRUSTS and TSHIRT, I got THONGS and TAMIL and STINK. This made TALKSNONSENSE apparent. Here's another amazing set of long answers. DATINGAGENCIES is a plural, but I have no issue with it at all. Even better is 53A: Extra sauce order? (MAKEMINEADOUBLE). Hah! I love it.

There are a slew of 3-letter answers necessary to make all of this work. But look at the clues and how they make it fun to get them. 6D: Puzzle hunt?: Abbr. (ANS). 12D: "J'accuse!" reply (MOI). 56D: Place of corruption (DEN).

Two big thumbs up.

- Colum


  1. ~31 minutes (timed off of Sue's car clock on the way to ME)
    That's an amazing time, Colum. I really had no problems with this grid. I didn't know IMAGINEDRAGONS from the clue, either, but from the date given and with a few of the downs accomplished, it came easily enough. Another "I agree" with the grade for 1A. Of course, I starred 20A One tailed in the sewers (RAT), even though it was a gimme for all, no doubt, because I'm in the business (see what I did there, pun-wise?). I also starred MAKEMINEADOUBLE, SNAREDRUM, SMARTCAR (I loved the clue but it's a terrible car; I have a much more comfortable Hyundai Accent that gets far better mileage), 23D Beach mold (PAIL) and 52D Takes in (CONS). I thought, in addition to the above-mentioned EZINE, that 33D Celebrity whose name sounds like a drink (ICET) is poor. However, two big thumbs up for the puzzle from this corner, too. Nice use of SPRUCE as an adjective.

  2. 18:34

    Yeah, I thought I was breezing along in this one, too. Hah!

    I will second all the love. MAKEMINEADOUBLE is one of my favorite entries in a long while. PRIG (Unlikely swinger) is great, SICHUAN is a word I should learn to spell correctly. I thought "Distillery eponym Joseph" was a little too random a clue for SEAGRAM. And I was not familiar with SPRAT, but any reference to one of the top two characters on Downton Abbey is ok with me!

    1. Yeah, he's pretty great, isn't he? His agony aunt sideline was the highlight of the last season.