Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday, December 2, 2016, Andrew Kingsley


It was really nice of the calendar to start December on a Thursday so I would spin into action at the start of the turn this week. I always look forward to the Friday and Saturday puzzles. Themeless grids often seem the most fun, with the best entries and the cleverest clues.

Today's is no exception. There are a ton of fun answers here, with a lot of colloquial touch. I love 59A: "Fingers crossed!" (HERESHOPING) and 37D: Claims, with "on" (HASDIBS). There's also the excellent PRIZEINSIDE and 10D: Something an athlete puts on (GAMEFACE), no question mark needed.

I broke into the grid, strangely, at 24D: Scottish "John" (IAN) as my first confident answer. I would have gotten that without any assistance, but I also had the ____TIES from the decade answer just before it, and then CIAOS (a strange plural) confirmed the lot. I worked down into the SW corner - I always like APRIORI, and HELIOS is a nice bit from Greek myth.

28D: Front ends? (CEASEFIRES) is a great answer and a really tough clue! I needed a lot of crosses to get that one. 40A: First name in foundations (ESTEE) on the other hand fooled me not at all. There's a bunch of not so great crossing answers in the SE. ACTIII always feels like a desperate move, and HIHO and ANON are pretty neutral. CHATTEL is a great word with not so great connotations in the worlds of race and gender relations.

The C of 36A: Sat in a dugout? (CANOED) was my last square entered. That's a good clue for not such a great answer. I do like OSCARNOD, and 16A: Suffix with lip- (ASE) was unexpected, which is good for such a blah answer.

I'm not so hot on the long answers in the NW corner. EDITORSNOTE isn't all that interesting. 17A: It comes with a dish (SATELLITETV) is better. 1D: Not as much (LESSSO) has that fun run of three S's in a row. But we pay with the peculiar partial ATEN, and classic crosswordese ORLE.

1A: Ceremonial basin (LAVABO) gets a B+ for Latin.

I had fun solving the puzzle, but as I look over it again, I see all the glue needed. Overall, I give it a thumbs up.

- Colum


  1. 20:23

    Was held up for a long while in the SW, where a couple bad guesses made things hard to see. Tried "spd" for MPH, for example, and "tom" for BEN... Loved DELIMIT and COERCES... and do you think the SPANDEX anagram was intentional?

    Overall, yeah, definitely thumbs up.

  2. 31:28
    I loved the SPANDEX bit. And also the stuff mentioned by Colum (except for the terrible LAVABO, of which I've never heard).