Saturday, May 7, 2016

Saturday, May 7, 2016, Kyle Mahowald


All right. I'm definitely not at the level of crossword solving of some of the other bloggers out there. But I'm beginning to recognize some stuff, little things that can give you a foothold, that previously I would have needed at least one or two crosses. Case in point: 1D: Where Fermi studied. I put PISA in without thinking. After all, Italian, four letters. We often see "Pisan" in the puzzle.

Another example: 55D: Where Bambara is widely spoken. I think I had the I already, so MALI was one of the only possible choices. ONEA also came in the same way. These sorts of answers can really open up a section.

I love 1A: Small, slim daggers (PONIARDS). Feels Shakespearean. I'll give it an A. I don't exactly dislike NOGOAREA. I just wanted "zone" in those last four letters. The clue for 4D: Not learned (INHERENT) seems just slightly off. There are many characteristics inherent to a thing or individual that are beyond learning: e.g. blue eyes.

I had some difficulty coming out of the NW because I put ARid for ARAB and TeeS for TANS. It made 21D: Show title shown on a license plate (LALAW) very difficult to see. I finally worked my way up out of the SE to get there.

RODMAN was a gimme for me. Oddly, when I played pickup basketball with my friends in college and after college, my nickname was "the Worm", for my ability to squeeze in to get rebounds. Maybe also for my inability to actually shoot the ball accurately. Later on, I acquired the nickname "old school" for my hook shots and set shots. But I digress.

64A: A good cure for it is sleep, per W. C. Fields (INSOMNIA). What a card, that W. C. WHATSNEWWITHYOU and MUSTBENICE are two smooth colloquialisms. DYNAMICDUO is another excellent star entry.

The NE and SW corners are too isolated for my taste, acting more or less as separate minipuzzles. 51A: Sharp's opposite (DUMB) was quite tough. I tried "flat" first. Although is that really opposite, even musically? I tried DUll next. RUMBLE is an archaic term for "Bit of gang warfare". Feels more appropriate on stage in West Side Story.

When I had MAC_RO at 9A: Apple variety, I thought: "huh... must be some hybrid name between a macintosh and a... oh."

Overall, I enjoyed this grid.

- Colum


  1. 37:25
    The north was difficult for me, but fair, especially considering the day of the week. PONIARDS gets an A and LISZT a B+? What's going on over there? As soon as I saw the clue at 9A Apple variety, I entered iphone, which brought the NE to a grinding halt. That led to my trouble at 12D Like tea bags (POROUS) where I originally entered, confidently, oneuse. Oh well...once I saw the errors at ARid and TeeS (like Colum), I was able to start working up and things were slowly corrected. HEDONISM is excellent. Nice, challenging but fair puzzle.

  2. 22:15

    Solved this one at 30,000 (or so) feet.

    Huygens - I, too, fell into the "iPhone" and "oneuse" trap! And then when I finally got "MUSTBENICE" I went all the way in the other direction and entered "MACoun." Hah!

    And Colum - totally agree about those bits of crosswordese being helpful. Sometimes I feel guilty just dropping them in, but on a Saturday, especially, I take what I can get!

    AMERICAN for "Cheese choice" made me laugh.