Saturday, February 11, 2017

Saturday, February 11, 2017, Frederick J. Healy




WAHOOS! (That last was multiple people speaking, apparently.)

Today's puzzle is peppy! A real pick-me-up! Running with a VTEN engine, it takes ONELAP around the circuit, snatching catches in MIDAIR, playing LASERTAG at the speed of light!

Whew, I'm exhausted. Let's take a moment and just STAYHERE. After all, if not now, WHENTHEN? I'm not terribly sure about that last answer. I feel like most people would say "then when?" There were more than a couple of answer like that. 28A: Cardinal topper (REDHAT) - oh, wait. They're not talking about the baseball team, who really wear red caps. They're talking about Catholic church cardinals. So yeah, I guess that one works, but it's definitely ad hoc.

GETSATAN I don't love (plus I keep on wanting to parse it as "get Satan!"), and SEINED is just such a piece of crosswordese. I loved HAVEACOW and BADKARMA. 21D: Part of many a submarine (SALAMI) got me again.

The 3-letter answers in this puzzle beg to be analyzed, so here we go. There are ten total, of which one is a standard English word (SKY). DOH is a modern term we've all accepted because of the popularity of The Simpsons. KEN is a dialect term from Scottish and Northern English. LAO is a foreign language name. I've put these in order of decreasing acceptability in my book.

The remainder are not standalone terms. TPS is the closest (The clue - 61D: Covers with some rolls - makes it better). RTE and SSR are accepted crosswordese abbreviations. 45A: ___ comparison (ASA) is rough. The clue is bland and the partial uninteresting. Better would have been "Crest-fallen ___ dried pear"- Shakespeare. Don't you think?

30A: Wharf workers' grp. (ILA) is just meh. The worst is 51A: The end of Caesar? (EAN). The clue makes it a little better, but still.

By the way, I give 1A a B+.

- Colum


  1. 64:14
    I had slightly more trouble than Colum with this one, evidently. I had tHENwHEN at first, but there probably isn't such a thing as a HAtKEYE (thank goodness for crosses!), and the LEHI/SHEET/ITEA crosses were rough. I can't stand clues like 58D Virginia willow's genus. That's downright terrible, and belongs not in the NYT, but in the Webster Times. TINO Martinez is not known to me. I wanted Pedro, but it just would not fit. The clue for LAWS is nice, and it's great that it's right above THAWS. SQUIBS is great, as is GEEKCHIC. Great that HAVEACOW and DOH are in the same puzzle. A fine, challenging Saturday.

  2. 34:33

    Yeah, this one was tricky for me, too. I'm pretty sure I ended up with an error at WAHOOS (Shouts heard at a rodeo) - I think I had yAHOOS, but I'm no longer sure. It's been a busy weekend.

    Didn't love MOPHEAD. Is that really a "challenge for a barber?" And I agree about ITEA. Awful, but then, I believe it is only allowed because it is a Saturday. If I saw that mid-week, I'd have a lot more complaining to do.

    Overall, though, I enjoyed it. As Huygens says, a fine, challenging Saturday.