Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday, June 19, 2016, David Woolf

Traffic Intersections


I had one error that was really dumb. For 116A. Starting point for Pompeii tourism, I entered NAPoli, which fit like a charm on its own, but caused some crashes on the downs. So, I took it out. But, dear reader, did I swap it out for NAPLES? No, I thought to myself, hunh, I guess I don't know that one. I might have been saved from my own obtuseness had I known crime writer Joseph HANSEN. I guessed HANSoN. Blergh.

The other error came at the cross between 31D. Youth detention center in England (BORSTAL) and the very excellently clued 66A. Call before reserving? (LET). I never once parsed reserving as re-serving. Lovely. If I had known the detention center, I might have figured out the clue, but, I didn't.

But, enough about me, how about today's stop & go theme? I did the puzzle on the app, which doesn't show color, but thanks to the heads up under the blinking "i" and the well known expressions involved, I had no trouble with the theme answers. It is a marvel of puzzle engineering, if you ask me, which you didn't, but it's my soap box for the moment. :) Both the concept and the execution are first-rate. Maybe the best one is the self-referential 92A. Illegal action shown literally in this answer? RUNNINGA[RED]LIGHT. It works on so many levels.

There was a lot of great fill, too - apart from the now-very-tired ONEL (sorry you didn't get your wish englishteacher59).

Here are some of my favorites:
43A. Fill-in-the-blanks diversion (MADLIB)
85A. Trembling (ASHIVER)
91A. Meeting around lunchtime (NOONER - for real this time!)
4D. One going for a board position? (DART) - ha!
13D. Mobile home: Abbr. (ALA) - Another one for the abbreviation clue hall of fame!

I liked 1A. (It's accommodating) quite a bit. It's tricksy on both the clue and answer side, but gettable. I give it an A.


~ Frannie.


  1. Theme great, BORSTAL boo. I figured it out at the last second, but unfortunately ran into trouble with SLEAZO (????). I had SLEAZe, a perfectly reasonable guess. When I also had BEaT for BEST, STEREO was ungettable. I finally figured it out. Still, the theme was great, especially the one that breaks the rules.

  2. Yeah, my eyebrows are raised too for SLEAZO instead of SLEAZe. The theme was fun and I got it early with RUNNINGA(red)LIGHT (solved using the note, didn't bother with pdf or app). I had never heard of a TOMGIRL, but Wiktionary has all kinds of citations, so I guess it is legit (and fairly guessable if one has heard of a tomboy).

    Hard to really like BORSTAL especially since England abolished them (at least by that name) in 1982. On the plus side, I did learn something about the history of juvenile justice in England and to a certain extent the British Empire.

    57A was a nice way to clue a tired answer.

    Finally got 119A after looking for synonyms of tail, string, sticks, paper, etc.

  3. I agree with the general dissatisfaction with SLEAZO, and Jim - I had the same thoughts about TOMGIRL and TALON. And just how much of West Africa speaks French, anyway? I suppose I should look that up.

    OK, I just did, and it's a lot. Everything except Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, and Nigeria, with a mix in Western Sahara and Gambia. And while that sounds like a lot of non-French-speaking countries, the French-speaking ones include Senegal, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Niger, Chad, Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and many others.

  4. DNF
    I stared at the middle west coast for a very long time, got MADLIB, ETE and ONEL, but nothing else there, so.... But other than that, excellent puzzle, and great theme. I agree with Frannie that it's a marvel of puzzle engineering (except for the aforementioned BORSTAL). I worked on this for over 90 minutes, with the bulk of the puzzle filled in right in my preferred time zone, so I can't really complain.

  5. Interestingly, this was not used for syndication. A "best of" ran instead in today's Star Tribune. Maybe this was because of the inability to reproduce the color in Sunday print newspapers, I don't know. I vaguely remember seeing color on the circles before I printed the thing, but then I forgot about that when I started solving. Don't think the color was necessary as the theme becomes obvious pretty quickly. Enjoyable solve with a lot to like. Frannie, I too loved seeing MADLIB in the grid.