Nice, tough Friday puzzle! That NW corner took me at least half the time today, and I had to put it down and come back to it several times before finally taking out "Jean Arp" and putting in the alternate HANSARP. Very tricky! Then, somehow, OVERTHEMOON (1A: Thrilled) (B) came clear. Did you notice that "tickled pink" fits into those squares exactly? I sure did. It was my first entry and I was loath to take it out.
Also in that corner, the "ones" part of TIPSONESHAT is routinely maligned by crossword reviewers, and RESOD (4D: Maintain, in a way, as a lawn) is not only a weak word, but I feel the clue is almost misleading, as it's more of a renewal than a maintenance chore, isn't it? VAINER and OCTANT are also less-than-ideal. In fact, the whole corner is a bit MESSY, so I don't feel so bad about spending so much time up there.
The SE, on the other hand, is quite nice. We've got AGEOFREASON (55A: Period following the Renaissance), the bowling combo of SPARE and BOWLASTRIKE, and the Huygens-ready LEWD (51D: Blue). I also enjoyed THESIS (43D: Argument) and FLAGON (41D: Mead holder).
Elsewhere, there's the nice "Healthy/Unhealthy" pairing of FIT and ILL, the lovely word AEOLIAN (29A: Windblown) (but I'm guessing that E will be a tough get for many), and I'm always happy to see my NERD friend AMES in the grid.
Overall, kind of a mixed bag, but I like the challenge, and I like more than I dislike. You?
Funny - I found the NW corner the easiest part of the puzzle. I started with TRE and then NERD, and then EMPIRE, and then ANIONS and RESOD, and the rest fell into place pretty easily. But the exits from that corner (HANS___ and ODAM__) were opaque to me. I wanted the artist to be Hals, obviously thrown off by Hans. Not to mention Hals' first name was Frans. Oh, well.
Actually the SE fell next. You didn't mention the mini-theme of OVERTHEMOON and UNDERTHESUN. Very nice that those match in terms of length. I still needed Cece's help to figure out the SW corner. She immediately knew MYPRETTY (somehow I had missed that clue the first time through), and then got 37A: Place of rest (CRYPT) off of that Y! Very nice.
I finished with DCCOMICS. Very clever.
And it took me 72:12 to finally realize that I was not ever going to unlock that NE corner. I wanted urL very, very badly up at 12A (I got LOVEINS off of the clue, so had the "L"), and I wanted some financial acronym for 16A (CEO). Oddly, I had CAV, but wanted fIreS instead of WICKS. AEOLIAN would have required every cross for me, and SEASNAKE and DCCOMICS would not reveal themselves. Anyway, the rest of the puzzle took only around 25 minutes, and I did enjoy myself solving it until I was mired hopelessly.
I agree about the weakness of RESOD. I also didn't love MESSY for "chaotic." Doesn't strike me as a very precise synonym. But like Colum I didn't have any trouble with the NW quadrant. Helps that Cindi and the kids love EMPIRE, maybe. What made this tough for me was the NE. CEO and DSL took awhile, that's for sure. It would've helped if I had remembered where the CAVs play sooner too. Agree on the cleverness of DCCOMICS. Effective misdirection. Loved MYPRETTY and the bowling answers. Thumbs up overall for a good, toughish Friday.ReplyDelete