Saturday, April 29, 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017, Martin Ashwood-Smith


A pleasing pinwheel of a puzzle today, with just enough DEADGIVEAWAYs to allow me to get started quickly in the North, before slowing down down South. BBC (4A: English channel) led to BTU (4D: About 252 cals.) and BELG (5D: Like M. Poirot), and though none of that is particularly spectacular, it eventually gave way to the smile-inducing THEATEAM (13A: Hannibal's men) and the always welcome MEACULPA (17A: Fault line?). Did you notice that that phrase is both Latin and English? ... whatever that means...

Over on the other side of the top, RATA (9D: Pro ____) gave ARABIA (16A: 1962 Best Picture setting) which gave the lovely ABATTOIR (10D: Slaughterhouse) ("No, no, it's just that we wanted a block of flats, not an abattoir.").

In the middle we have crossing staggered entries making a sort of diamond shape. My favorite is DILLYDALLIES (32A: Dawdles), but the rest are all pretty good. I don't know from GEORGESMILEY (36A: Fictional spy who first appeared in "Call for the Dead"), but I'm sure others will. Not being much of a reader sometimes makes things difficult. My second-to-last square today was the S of STINE (43A: Writer with the given names Robert Lawrence) and SENSE. I ran the alphabet there (yes, Mr. Berman, it does work sometimes!) and stopped whenever I could make a sensible word. "Import" is a very tricky clue for SENSE, but STINE seemed plausible, so I went with it. My last square was another S - of SDS (54D: New Left org.) and YES (58A: Fist pumper's cry). I thought the latter could be "YEa," but I guess SDS rang a bit of a bell, so when I got the "Congratulations!" window, I said "YES!"

Some Saturday-ish entries like OOSPORES, LOESS, EKING, TIRANA, and the classic GEE, but also enough fun stuff - EAUDEVIESETASIDE (34D: Table), SHEESH (2D: "Jeez Louise!") and SCRAWL (7A: It's poorly written), for example, to make for a satisfying Saturday solve.

- Horace


  1. 18:14
    "Nice though the ABATTOIR is..."

    3D! First tried "euchre", rejected "bridge", then confidently put "spades" in. But no. It's HEARTS. Nice! But that's why the NW took forever. It broke when I guessed ACNE. The rest of the puzzle was done in about 12 minutes.

    GEORGESMILEY was the main character in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, if you saw the Alec Guinness series or the Gary Oldman movie.

    This is really quite a good puzzle from Mr. Ashwood-Smith.

    1. Oh, and "ecarte" as well!! All 6 letters long.

  2. 17:25
    Glad to hear that running the alphabet is working for someone. Also, nice Monty Python references. You just can't go wrong with ABBATOIR - comedic gold. Of course the Simpsons had the vocabulary tape that began with "The cow was slaughtered in the abattoir".

    1. I don't remember the vocab tape, but I do remember their trip to "Bovine Academy." Hahahhaahaahaaaaslaughter....

  3. Untimed, but around 20 minutes.
    I stopped the timer at 4:51 when Horace's father arrived in the afternoon, and forgot to restart it. But there were no big slowdowns. THEATEAM had me going for a little while, and I tried BaLd for 5D Like M. Poirot (BELG), but things worked themselves out. I was a bit worried about OOSPORES, but it's correct; I'll try to commit it to memory for future solves. I wrote in ABATTOIR with no crosses. Never heard of a GIGATON.