Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016, Damon Gulczynski

11:51 (FWOE)

I definitely had the most difficulty with the NW corner, which took up about 3 minutes of my time at the end. My first attempt at entry came at 4D: Not straight up (ATILT), where I tried "on ice", funnily enough (see below). I saw that was wrong immediately with Don LARSEN, owner of baseball's only postseason perfect game. I got none of the downs off of that answer, but 21A: "Bluebeard's Castle" composer (BARTOK) was a gimme for me, and I was off to the races.

So, let's see: the SW corner had some great long answers. REALTROOPER is great, but NOTAGBACKS is outstanding. GRETZKY is great to see in a grid. It has to be paired with NAACP in order to make all those consecutive consonants work. The price we pay is AME (which apparently refers to African Methodist Episcopal, a title I'd never seen before), RIAL, and SSR. I'm glad HARPY was not clued in a demeaning to women way, or at least not overtly so.

I was able to work the middle at this point, coming off Simon LEBON. 34A: Attraction temporarily shut down and partly moved to Siberia during W.W. II (LENINSTOMB) gets top marks for that great piece of trivia. What did they move? His beard? His suit? Enquiring minds wish to know. Ah, just his body. How boring.

Amusing to cross the hallmark of Communism with GERALDFORD. But it allowed me down into the SE. This is an outstanding stack of three 9-letter answers. OPIONEERS, RICOCASEK (well known to Boston area folks), and DESDEMONA. We pay for it a little with partial APIE and standard Spanishism ESO. But how about 54D: Motor problems (TICS)? Love me some Neurology in my Friday puzzle.

I really love 12D: Uses flowery language (WAXESPOETIC). That's a wonderful entry. IND is a good reminder of where our beloved Bernie came from. I will not let politics enter the blog. I will not! Bad.

EMBANK and TAXON... whew. Not so great. And OVATE isn't wonderful either. I do like HOTMESS and HAWED though.

I finally broke the NW when I put SWf in. I fixed the M before the end of the puzzle. I do like 1A: Anagrams (SCRAMBLES), although I think of those more as "jumbles". I'll give it an A-. WHATAJERK is also great, even more so because it allows the divine BJORK into the puzzle. And that's a nice pair of "single-named artists" with ERTE. I tried Enya at one point.

And SKINFLICKS! Very nice. It ended the puzzle for me, only it didn't, because I'd put oNICE at 28D. And that's why it was funny, see, because I was wrong twice in the same puzzle with the same answer.

- Colum


  1. 26:07 (FWOE) (Spelled OCASEK wrong, and didn't know the Star Wars cross.)

    I really enjoyed this puzzle. So many great long-ish answers! You've already called them out, but I just want to second things like NOTAGBACKS (the only slight criticism here is that where I come from it was more popular to yell "No tags back!"), WHATAJERK,WAXESPOETIC (with its verb ending unexpectedly (not as predicted) (see what I did there?) in the middle!), and GRETZKY, which I put in immediately, but took out for a while because I just couldn't believe it would work.

    Speaking of Gretzky, your "on ice" story is, indeed, quite amusing. GILLS took me a long, long while to see, because I, too, had "oNICE" in that spot, but took the O out when I just couldn't find anything that worked. And I'm pretty sure I had not yet figured out "Aids in raising arms?" (ULNAS) either, which, by the way, is pretty fine clueing for that old standby.

    Sure, there is a little glue holding this one together, but overall this is outstanding.

  2. 20:16 (FWOE)

    Didn't know the Star Wars reference?!?! I mean, I understand your conscious lack of TV viewing, and the pop culture holes that inevitably creates, and I understand that you're a world traveler and are busy learning Norwegian, and I even understand that Episodes 1, 2, & 3 don't hold the same sway as 4, 5, & 6 that we grew up with, but Kylo REN and Rey are easily the top two pop culture character introductions of the last year. And I guess I shouldn't give anything away if you haven't seen the movie, but Kylo REN is directly tied to Episodes 4, 5, & 6.

    Perhaps you and Frannie ought to come this way and hang out with Harry and Jeremy for a while to get up to speed on this stuff.

    1. Well, I will say that REN sounded familiar to me, but only from other crossword puzzles. I can watch an entire movie - any movie - without ever really learning the characters' names. It drives Frannie a little insane.

      Also, speaking of not giving anything away, I very much enjoyed the "Spoiler Alert" in today's (Saturday's) puzzle.

  3. 30:52 (FWOE)
    I also spelled RICOCASEK wrong and didn't know the Star Wars reference. I got DESDEMONA immediately off of the clue, as well as MANICOTTI. LARSEN is unknown to me, but BARTOK went in right away. I wasn't as fast as many Fridays, but this puzzle solve went right along. I once used "HARPY" in a trip report.