Sunday, August 7, 2016

Saturday, August 6, 2016, David Phillips


A nice ending to the turn, with this outstanding themeless from Mr. Phillips. Unfortunately, today was also the ending to my vacation, so I'm writing this after 7 1/2 hours on the road. We had great weather and a lovely beach house in Delaware to share with family, so only good memories overall.

Anyhoo, this grid is very interesting with the pair of 14-letter marquis answers separated by only one row. 31A: Manipulative use of the Force (JEDIMINDTRICKS) was fairly obvious from the clue, although I was stuck by thinking it would end in "games", so I had to leave the last part of the answer empty for some time. The other, 36A: Someone always good for a few pints? (UNIVERSALDONOR) had me thinking about vampires for a while, so I needed more crosses to get it.

I incorrectly entered the grid with orgieS at 1D: Saturnalia events (FEASTS), but the S gave me SLR, and then AIRFARE (3D: Soaring expense? cute). So I was going to say that SLR was the first answer I was 100% about, but when I entered JEDIMIND____ and had that ____LJ ending at 2D, I questioned myself all over again. Thus, the first answer I was completely certain about was 28D: Gives credit (CITES), an answer after Frannie's heart, I feel certain.

The trio of answers in the NW are very nice. I give 1A: Spontaneous public gathering (FLASHMOB) an A+ for its freshness. I suspect that most flashmobs are not spontaneous, but rather planned out, or at least the ones that make it onto YouTube, in any case. ELIHUYALE presents crosswordese's prime perpetrator in full name format, and ACROBATIC is also nice. LLCOOLJ solved my problem noted above.

The SW corner is not nearly so pretty. NEODADA is a rough collection of unexpected letters, but Googles well enough. Jasper Johns is the archetype, apparently. ODIUM is also not something I recognize I feel much, if ever.

I liked the crossing of GIMLI with DIRKS just above DIAPERPIN. It seemed appropriate. 59A: Activity for when there's nothing going on? (STREAKING) is cute.

My favorite clue and answer is at 12D: One who's green after seeing red (THEHULK). Very succinct, no question mark needed. Well done. The NE was where I finished, with the crossing of CAIRN and CRUE. That's a tough letter to find, but when I had _RUE, there was really only one choice.

How about VROOM? Very nice.

- Colum


  1. 34:30

    Frannie and I solved this on a very short 24-hour (less even) vacation in Maine.

    18A: Paris Attraction? (HELEN) was cute, but it's "aha!" factor was diminished by the the question mark, which made it too obvious. I still chuckled, but I also put it in without crosses, and felt fairly certain about it. I inferred "CRUE" from the clue, but it was Frannie who was able to fill in BALDRIC, THEHULK, and SINLESS. Probably because I had put in UPS instead of DHL...

    The two "Coup d' ____" clues were fun, but "coup d'oeil" is pretty deep French.

    The SE was where we ended. DIAPERPIN is beautiful, but it took us so long to get to, and "Is for a group?" tricked me again!

    Loved BUMARIDE.

    Satisfying Saturday.

  2. 45:21
    OEIL is unknown to me, as it's "deep French," but this puzzle was a fun one overall. SOFAS is excellent, and seeing LLCOOLJ in there is nicely odd. STREAKING is fantastic, but 33D Figure in the high 60s (DPLUS) took me way too long. I loved the HELEN clue, but I, too, got it right off of the clue due to the question mark.