Saturday, June 10, 2017

Saturday, June 10, 2017, Mark Diehl


A nice mix of clever twists and fun fill, starting with a 1A that worked on several levels: a hidden capital, a twist, and an out-of-the-ordinary answer (MENACHEM). A+. Judging by my time today, this was less TAXING than a typical Saturday. I had filled in all but one square at the 28 minute mark. I got hung up at 34A. It's got teeth. I put sAW right in and kept it for a long time - I was sure it was correct - but I couldn't make heads nor tails of sUNKART. I ran the alphabet on the troublesome "s" square, although I know some look ASKANCE at that technique, and came up with JAW/JUNKART for the big finish.

The puzzle featured some excellent no-question-mark clues, like everyone likes in a Saturday puzzle:
24A. Two stars, perhaps (ITEM) - Alist clue for a commonly seen entry.
25A. Very old school (ETON) - ha!
10D. Bright camp wear (BOAS) - my favorite.

There were also some amusing question mark clues:
41A. Fitting coffee order on a submarine? (SANKA) - LOL
49A. Number one advocate? (EGOIST)
7D. Forerunner in a race? (EVE) - I filled this one in with crosses and I didn't even get it until I reviewed the puzzle for the review.

Other nice puzzle fill:
32A. Separate, as strands of hair (TEASEAPART)
24D. Running around with one's hair on fire (INAPANIC)

I couldn't help but think of Huygens at both 30A. Danger for a hiker (BEARATTACK) and 36D. "Are you kidding me?" (WHATTHE). He probably liked ICEGIANT as well (47A. Uranus or Neptune).

I wasn't super HAPPYMEAL (unlike millions of others) with a few clue/answer pairs.
42A. Ruin (END)
43A. Stopwatch ticks; Abbr. (SECS)
25D. Abbr. in a bibliographic citation (ETAL)
They were all fine, but not *fine* if you see what I mean. :)



  1. Three errors for me, so I claim a DNF. My first error came at MENACHEM / EVE cross, where I put an I. Since I didn't get the excellent "Forerunner in a race" clue until I figured out where my error was, I didn't see the problem. My other errors came in ABLAZE where I put AfLAmE. Yeah, I had mENMONK at the end. An excellent but incorrect answer.

    There is great cluing here, and the middle section of the puzzle is really quite nice. I don't like the segregated corners in the NW and SE because of the lack of flow, but I guess I'm shouting into the wind here.

  2. 30:17
    Struggled mightily with this one, even though I wrote 1A in straight away on reading the clue. Had a few bad guesses in there that held me back. 9A AFLAME. 42A MAR. 24A FAIR or SOSO. And 24D FRENETIC which I was sure about for too long.

    I won't look ASKANCE at out leader for running the alphabet, especially in light of it working in this case.

    Considered admitting defeat at some point, but persevered and was quite pleased to finish.

  3. 26:19
    A bit faster than yesterday, and yes, I cringed at BEARATTACK, since I'm always on the alert running so early in the morning, and enjoyed WHATTHE for obvious reasons. I wrote ICEGIANT in with no crosses, and I also entered APOLLO__ off of the clue, but needed the crosses to finish it off. mENMONK? Finally, I recall my surprise when the ALTIMETERS (one of which I was wearing and the other on the plane's control board) started registering as we climbed on my way to my parachute jump a few years back. They peaked at around 13,500'. I didn't watch the one on my person on the way down.