Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wednesday, April 5, 2017, Alex Eaton-Salners


I think that the cross that did me in was intentionally left as a potential "impossible cross" by the editor to test us on our political currency. At least I hope it was for that. If it was to test us on a basketball player who retired eight years ago, then I no longer know what is important. Of course, it could be argued by many who know me that I have never known that... Anyway, OK, yes, Mr. Shortz, I did not know the name of the president of Mexico. Happy?

Enrique Peña Nieto
Other than that, there was some nice stuff in here. COPERNICUS (5D: He placed the sun at the center of the universe) and GEOLOGISTS (30D: Rock scientists) (Hi Dad!) went in without crosses, and once I had a few of the clues referencing 43-Down (SPANISH) I was able to fill in both that and 44-Down (ESPANOL). In fact, even with running the alphabet on the N in NSA, and then going to xwordinfo to check the name of the president, my stopped timer still reads under 9 minutes.

1A: Rod at a pig roast (SPIT) - C. Gross.
Favorite: 13D: Tiny bit (SMIDGE)
Least favorite: 46A: Gave the go-ahead (OKED).

One detail that Frannie pointed out to me is that everywhere that the ñ appears, it works for both crosses. Very nice. Overall, though, the impossible cross, and the very little known (or known about) poet ERINNA (definite Saturday material) put a damper on my happiness. Even though here the crosses, such as they were, were fair. Ish. PEPSI is a brand, GASTRAPS (54A: Devices that prevent fumes from escaping) seems forced (how many had "GAShoodS" at first?), and INAT (59A: ____ the finish (having potential to win)) is a partial that just seems made up.

Overall, I appreciate the effort, and I stand humbled by my North American ignorance, but I didn't love it.

- Horace


  1. 6:46
    After I finished, I reset the puzzle and had my 16 year old son take a stab at it since he is taking Spanish class this year. He finished it in 9:24, which is lower than his usual Monday time. So I guess this was pretty easy for a 16x15 if you don't get tripped up. A few more runs like this, and maybe I can convince him to go to the Indie 500 in June.

    1. Wait - you have a sixteen-year-old son?! Did you have him when you, yourself, were 14?

    2. Thanks. I am very happy to hear you say that. I think crossword tournaments must take 15 years off our appearance because we are surrounded by so many elderly folks.

  2. As the world famous Greek poet ERINNA used to say, "Mexican presidents and retired basketball players are my Achilles' heel." :(

  3. 3:59
    Man, this played super easy for me. I knew PENANIETO, which helped. I also knew MUTOMBO, which helped figure out BASSOS rather than BASSeS, which I had initially. I also had POiS initially for "Okra units" (?!) but corrected when OKay didn't work but OKED did. Very much disliked that cross. The I of ERINNA was also a guess, but it made more sense with INAT (rather than oNAT). Anyway, all my guesses worked out.

  4. 10:17 (FWTE)
    I'll take that "finished with" rating because of the MUTOMBO/PENANIETO/BASSOS crosses, which weren't that fair since no one (except Colum) knows of this MUTOMBO. I liked FLEXORS and TNG, of course, the latter for a couple of reasons. Loved a nice OPAH while in HI, and WOOT is good. ERINNA is not known to me. All-in-all, I give this a very slight thumbs-up. That cross mentioned above should have been reworked somehow.