Saturday, November 5, 2016

Saturday, November 5, 2016, David Phillips


Beautifully thick corners today smash into each other in the center. There, the horizontals are broken up, but two nice vertical pins - FLATRATEBOX (7D: U.S.P.S. option advertised with the slogan "If it fits, it ships" and STREETSMART (21D: Not going by the book?) hold it together nicely. Not the most exciting entries, maybe, but certainly acceptable.

But let's get back to those corners. With the possible exceptions of TIRO (25A: Cicero's longtime servant and scribe), ANTA (37A: Nonprofit Broadway production grp.) (maybe more well-known by those in NYC), and TYNE (8D: Northumberland river), the fill was all good, and sometimes great. Take, for example STARDATE (31D: Enterprise standard). That's an excellent clue for a fun answer. And in that same SW we get SCABBARD (28D: Blade holder), ULTERIOR (30D: Intentionally hidden), and the ever-popular trivia, MONROVIA (29D: Only African capital named after a U.S. president). That's a quality stack!

1A: Take stock? (SHOPLIFT) gets an A-. The deduction is for the question mark. It's Saturday! Why must they cheapen these great clues?! Another such was 52A: Conservationist's field? (PRESERVE). Boy was that a tough one! I so wanted "preservation," but the making of preserves is also a method of conservation... well, ok. Maybe that question mark is more justified, but I still think on Saturday we could live without it.

ICECAP (19A: Martian feature) was tricky, MARINERS (50A: Other than the Nationals, only current Major League Baseball team never to have played in a World Series) was interesting trivia, and COHERER (36D: Device used to detect radio waves) could have been any old word. The only way it was getting entered by me was by getting all the crosses, which, fortunately, I could do.

A quality grid, and an enthusiastic thumbs up.

- Horace


  1. 8:26
    Going on all cylinders today! The only thing that held me up was the NE, which fell when I recalled MEGATRON, which fixed DoVer to DEVON. Loved this grid. It was really excellent in all phases. TIRO was new to me, TYNE was not. Well known to this Anglophile. The first thing I put in was SACS as a guess, then CASSETTE solidly. I love 6D: Threat from a rat (ILLTELL).

  2. 21:42
    Well, I like my time just fine. STKITTS looks great in the grid, and all of the stacks are excellent. I loved MENAGE (17A Household) and BRERFOX, and CASSETTE went right in for me, too. EKE center grid was not welcome, but the TONTO quote is, although the whole TONTO thing is a little insensitive nowadays, especially in light of the G&S show I saw yesterday, SHALLWE? AMENAMEN, ALTAR, KNEELER, SMITE, OMENS. That's a lot of religiosity.