Friday, October 7, 2016

Friday, October 7, 2016, Robyn Weintraub


I'm going to come down on the positive side for this puzzle, but what's giving me pause is the intense compartmentalization of the grid. It's essentially four mini-puzzles connected in the middle by a stack of three answers. It's not really enough in the way of entry from one area to another, and it played that way.

On the other hand, and it's a big other hand, all that separation allowed for some really sparkly fill. I broke in with 1D: Harry Potter's father (JAMES) with an assist from Cece, and then plopped JEDIMASTER in (A for that one). But even better, we get the trifecta: Star Wars, Harry Potter, and The Princess Bride, with MIRACLEMAX. Which is, by the way, one of my all time favorite comedy scenes ("Mutton, lettuce, and tomato, when the mutton is nice and lean, and the tomatoes are ripe, they're so perky...") with Carol Kane ("I'm not a witch, I'm your wife!").

I had to work my way backwards out of the middle to connect to the NW, starting with OLA and AXIS. The X made TOYBOXES clear, but even better is 37A: Expert savers (GOALIES). Love the lack of question mark! I was thinking "squirrels" or something. And JURASSIC is also lovely across the middle like that.

I found the SW fairly straightforward once I had BARK in place (31D: Lab report? - Ha!). Hard to believe anybody thought it was a good idea to make an EWOK only spinoff of Star Wars. 36D: Malady with many "remedies": HANGOVER is nicely clued. We get two crosswordese answers to pin this stack in place (UTA and EERO).

I misinterpreted 25D: Interest for a cryptozoologist (NESSIE) for a while as foSSIl, which held me from going into the NE. So I worked my way back into it from the SE corner. I love DOMEAFAVOR (four word phrase, very nice), and SHALLOWEND is fine.

Finally, ended in the NE where my last answer was 13D: Wrapper that's hard to remove? (ANACONDA). Love it.

So an overall fun solve, despite the lack of flow.

- Colum


  1. 16:56 (FWOE)
    The cross of SMU and MOREL is not a good one. I'd guessed "t." The rest of the fill was fine and mostly fun. I dropped at least three quarters of the puzzle in in under ten minutes, and the remainder (the SW and the south) took eight minutes or so. I never really think about "flow" until it's mentioned by one of the bloggers of this site, but I can see how that could be considered a problem. Lots of good stuff here. I'll give it a thumbs up.

  2. 12:17
    I smiled all the way through this one after guessing JEDIMASTER (which, by the way, this Blogger software "corrected" to "jedimastert" just now. WHY?! WHY!?). Loved so much in here, both in the fill and the cluing. "Zero" for NONE, "It's not a welcome sign" for EXIT, and others mentioned above. I also loved CASELAW, SHALLOWEND, and CHORUSLINE... which reminds me, we've got to get going, because we'll be seeing a REVIVE-al on Broadway tonight!