Friday, December 23, 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016, Robyn Weintraub


Ms. Weintraub NIGH well hit this one out of the park. I didn't like one or two answers, but in general, this is very strong stuff here.

1D: Immune system component (TCELL) was my entry, only I chose the wrong kind of cell, with repercussions that lasted for nearly the complete puzzle. Once I had bCELL in place, and with the NIGH impossible RAMIE at 2D, the NW corner was a challenge.

But how about that 1A: One may hold a ship in place (TRACTORBEAM)? It's my first (and probably only) A+ of the month. What a great answer and clue! I was NIGH convinced the clue was referring to an earthbound vessel, and with b_AC____, I tried to start off with "beach..." Clearly that didn't fly. The remainder of long across answers are good as well, especially EMPIRESTATE, which is where yours truly lives.

8D: Robin's refuge (BATCAVE) is a lovely hidden capital that didn't fool me for an instant. We've talked before in this space of how one's crossword-solving thinking has to shift to trickier things come the turn, and in this situation, it served me well. 20A: Toy car driver? (CBATTERY) was NIGH impossible, though. I had to figure it out from the back end later in my solve.

13D: Copernicus, for one (STARGAZER) was somehow less specific than I wanted. I rejected things having to do with Poland and "astronomer" didn't fit. I'm not a fan of BETSY DeVos.

IMPRESSME is nice. 46A: Breathers? (NOSTRILS) made me laugh when I finally figured it out. The SW corner was definitely the hardest area of the puzzle for me. I stared at a bunch of empty squares for some time - I NIGH gave up! Not really.

And now I've used NIGH in NIGH every paragraph of this puzzle. I liked that word best of all. Does SECRETSANTA make this puzzle four in the Holiday series? I guess so.

- Colum

1 comment:

  1. 65:03
    This was a nice, difficult Friday. I loved TRACTORBEAM, but it's not a thing. TCELL was my first confident answer, and ASPEN, ODE and BATCAVE all went right in off of the clues, but 1A didn't come to me until much, much later. I wanted Ccell-something to go in at 20A, but CBATTERY came relatively quickly. With my first pass around this puzzle, though, I thought this would be a DNF, but I persevered and eventually things filled in. The puzzle seemed like a bunch of separate puzzles, and as I'd fill in, say, the SE, I'd have nearly nothing to go off to get up to the middle-east. I really enjoyed the puzzle, though, even with your RAMIE and CHITA. I wanted SIvA at 29D, but of course it's Shiva of whom I was thinking.