Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday, February 24, 2017, Andrew Zhou


So, I get back to upstate New York from Houston, where I've been for a conference. Lovely weather down there, upper seventies, no humidity, sunny. Simply gorgeous. Only when I arrive in Albany, the temperature here is 73. February, people! Upstate New York and it feels like Summer.

Anyway, today's puzzle, to take a break from more global concerns, has a pretty impressive setup of 15-letter answers in rows 3, 5, 11, and 13. Rows 7 and 9 have 10-letter answers. All of this to say that that's quite a challenge.

Of the 15s, the best by far is 21A: Their tops can produce "power output" (QWERTYKEYBOARDS) - get it? You can spell the words "power output" using only the top row on a standard keyboard. Very nice work there. I'm sure we've seen BRITISHINVASION before. I'm not sure how I missed the clue on my first pass. I likely skipped the long clue in the interests of filling in easier stuff, but that was a gimme and would have shaved minutes off my time, I'm sure.

44A: Workout area? (EXERCISESCIENCE) is reasonably good, and 52A: Usually anonymous newspaper worker (EDITORIALWRITER) is solid without being exciting. I was definitely impressed by having OLDMASTERS and ORANGEZEST in there as well.

These are crossed in the SW by DRIVETIME and MASERATIS, two things that likely don't really go together in actual life (idling in rush hour traffic in your hot sports car seems like a waste of time) and in the NE by DESIARNEZ (nice full name) and MAINROUTE.

I broke into the puzzle with SEINE (Henry Miller, France, 1930s). 1A: Take a while to wear off (LAST) took a while to enter. I give it a C for a remarkably dull entry to a fairly lively grid. KITER I'd heard of barely, but the definition (a person who writes a check knowing there are insufficient funds to cover the amount) is fun. I don't like plural RENES or the peculiar ENROOT, but otherwise an enjoyable puzzle.

- Colum

1 comment:

  1. 27:07
    This puzzle took me only around 15 minutes for all but the NW, which filled out the remainder of the time. LAST came very slowly for some reason, as did its cross, LGBTQ, which should have gone in more quickly, especially with the question mark. BRITISHINVASION was a gimme, and I entered it off of the clue, and maybe it did shave some time off for me. I'm happy to say that Sydney OMARR is completely unknown to me, and I hope to forget the name post-haste. Nice that the LORAX makes an appearance, although he is one of my least favorite Seuss characters (awfully preachy, and not funny at all). ERIS was nicely clued. I liked that there were two answers starting with "Q" and that both were off the ends of other answers. We seem to be missing only a "J" and a "P" for a pangram.