Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sunday, July 2, 2017, Patrick Blindauer


Wow! A very tricky Sunday! And, I might add, much, much more difficult to complete on an iPad, where the central "long and winding road" is totally made up of black squares into which you cannot enter letters. The Beatles connection was a big help, and once I saw what the letters along the road would spell out, it helped me to finally figure out such tricky ones as CLE[V]ELAND (78A: Harrison's successor) and ALE[R]TEST (23D: Most watchful).

On the other hand, entries like 65A: "The Time Machine" race (ELO[I]), and 68A: Delany or Carvey (DAN[A]) were some of the ones that gave away that there was something else going on in the first place.

So again I say Wow. It was a struggle, and the sparse placement of the letters on the road was a bit troubling, but in the end, I am a fan. I mean, come on, it's a Beatles-related theme, and it had some nice bits of trivia! So let's look at non-theme stuff.

1A: Major tenant of Rockefeller Center (NBCTV) - It's fine, but it's an abbreviation. On the other hand, it's kind of an unusual abbreviation, because it's made up of two separate abbreviations mashed together, so let's give it a C+.

I very much liked the long downs in the center, especially BROADSID[E] (37D: Strongly worded attack), EVANESCE (59D: Slowly fade away), DELUXE (68D: Extra-special), and PLATEAU (80D: The highest form of flattery?). I liked the little Penny theme in 15D: Penny, mostly (ZINC) and 94A: 1943 penny material (STEEL). CLAMORED (106A: Raised a ruckus) is nice, but seems like something that no one would say. And RANARACE (28A: Emulated the tortoise and hare) is clued so absurdly that I had to smile when I realized the obvious answer was so obviously correct.

So thumbs up. It's an unusual theme, a tricky puzzle, and I applaud it. Nice work, Mr. Blindauer.

- Horace


  1. Yeah, you've gotta love the Beatles theme, even though we spent more than a half a hour with the rest of the grid completed and only a few scattered letters in the "road." And we were sure of all of them (CLE(V)ELAND, ALE(R)TEST, NEWS(R)EEL, etc.) and figured we somehow had to fill in all the rest. I even had "leAdstoyourdooR" at the end there for a while. The trouble we had, given that urge to try and fill in more road squares, was the uncertainty about some letters that might have been there, like the Y in CHARL(Y), or CHARLie.

    But the real reason we were stumped for so long is because we had EXILEd (59A: Edgar in "King Lear," e.g.) Someone tell me why my syntax isn't more appropriate to the clue! Sure, an EXILE, but that's two words. Anyway, that extra D sure caused trouble. It was only after reading the hint for the, well, many times, that I finally parsed it as "just read the letters that are there and don't add extra ones." That D immediately shown as the mistake and deleting it begot the music.

    But year, Beatles trivia. Fab.

  2. This was an amazing puzzle. Very difficult. I got stuck in the ALI/LIST/SKIS section for quite some time. I was able to figure out DRIVEMYCAR despite working on the iPad, but it was a lot more difficult that way.

  3. I never got my iPad to congratulate me, but I did complete the puzzle and I got the extra theme answer. I'm writing in anyway to give a shout out to one of the clues I loved: 80D. Higest form of flattery? (PLATEAU). Excellent. I also really liked Kitchen shortening (TSP). That's some clever cluing.

  4. Yeah, tough one, but completed in about an hour (much longer than a normal Sunday). I knew something was up with Harrison's successor, realizing that, even though it was a Beatles-themed puzzle, the clue wasn't referencing George. Nice that YOGI is in there, and Andre PREVIN. Sue probably would have known RICO (21A Wealthy: Sp.).