Saturday, December 17, 2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016, Zhouqin Burnikel


Well, my early disappointment this week has been made up for by a very nice turn. This is a smooth themeless, with only a couple of spots I wasn't enthralled by. Even though it flew by, it was a nice respite from my somewhat tense drive the length of the Mass Pike in a moderate snowstorm.

My opening gambit in this grid came at 4D: Hardly a racing boat (TUB) - very nice. TELL followed (kind of a gimme answer), which gave me the beginning of 15A: Reading material for French fashionistas (VOGUEPARIS), and we were off to the races. I particularly liked 1A: Automated message poster (TWITTERBOT). Methinks our dewy eyed future POTUS may take advantage of some of these. Or not. Despite that less than happy reminder, I'll give the answer a B+ for its freshness.

I had OILSpIll for a little at 9D, but switched when I figured out that 28A: Control, metaphorically was REINS. That's a really nice clue and answer, I think. Nonetheless, I petered out over there for a bit, and attacked the SW corner instead.

Nothing too challenging here. I had SALAMIS off of the S, and figured out that 32D: Touch alternative (NANO) was referring to iPods. I like that the answer was right below 6D: Touching things in competition (EPEES). ORDERNOW has a nice immediacy about it, literally.

The saddest moment in the grid came at SAMP. This is not a thing I've ever heard of. Apparently it's South African. I doubted this entry all the way until I finished the puzzle. 56D: Anonymous news source (THEY) is a brilliant clue: how overly formal! ALLTHERAGE is very good.

I call a semi-Natick at the cross of RSSFEED and RAMIN. I thought of "Jam in, and had I not had a niggling thought that the R was right for the down clue, I would have finished with an error.

Otherwise I enjoyed this puzzle.

- Colum


  1. 15:08 (FWOE)
    My first entry was "Paris Vogue." For some reason, I've always thought of it that way, not as VOGUEPARIS. I corrected it quickly enough, though, when I put in TUg at 4D: Hardly a racing boat (TUB). I still like my answer better there. My troubles continued up in the NW, though, as I put in and left in LEaDS for 20A: Makes advances (LENDS). I didn't know RATNER (Brett who directed "Rush Hour"), but I should probably have noticed that RATaER makes a very unusual name.

    I, too, thought of "jam in," but an RSSFEED is common enough nowadays, isn't it? And yeah, SAMP is something I've only ever seen in crosswords, but this time it rang enough of a bell for me to use it to correct SHeLALA.

    I liked that there's so much mid-length stuff. A little quick for a Saturday, and with names I don't know, but overall, thumbs up.

  2. 40:32 (FWOE)
    RAMIN/RSSFEED (whatever that is); I put a "j" there, and left it in. Everything else was fair, even VOGUEPARIS, which I've not heard of. I liked ANYIDEAS (in addition to the clues mentioned by Colum and Horace, above). I put bAt in for 59D Halloween figure (HAG) before getting the crosses. PARLAY is nice, and STONED (48D High) is surprising.