Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday, August 4, 2017, Damon Gulczynski


Funny how today's puzzle and yesterday's puzzle have very similar grids, although today's uses traditional diagonal symmetry rather than yesterday's up-down symmetry. I have to write today's blog post quickly because Horace and Frannie are on their way to visit Albany for the evening, and I want it in place before they arrive! Not to mention later on the alcohol might interfere with my ability to be coherent. Arguably, I'm never all that coherent to begin with.

Anyway, a very nice themeless today. The long across answers really made the puzzle accessible, unusually.

News break! I have failed to finish this entry prior to the entry of Horace and Frannie. All is chaos here.

As I was saying, AMERICANPHAROAH broke the upper part, and TSARALEXANDERII broke the lower part. It's my typical approach to avoid the long answers, trying to get crosses before even looking at the clues. But I got very little traction that way. After all, who knows what the heck BIGA is referring to? Apparently, the Aqueduct Racetrack. Still, that, combined with SHIM and SAGE, whose clues were not at all helpful, made me work from the middle out.

Although SAYHEYKID was easy. As was THANKLESS, which is so clearly an exact synonym for "Like ingrates," I actually was second guessing myself.

I love the CHAPLIN quote, which seems very obvious. I did not know PRATT, which I thought could have been more contemporary in its cluing by referencing Chris, but oh well.

Very fun to have XOXO in the bottom section, to allow EXOPLANETS and SEXPISTOLS.

There are some fairly gluish areas (see REOS, ITLL, ISSO in the SE), and I haven't been following tennis for a while, so LINA (That's Li Na) was unheard of. But overall I'm in favor.

1A: Some undergrad degs. (BSS). D. I disagree with this clue and answer morally. It's a plural abbreviation.
Fave: FIN (38A: Bass part). It's a throwaway answer, but I liked the misdirection of the clue.
Least fave: ODON (6D: Go crazy with, in a way). Don't like either the clue or the answer.

- Colum


  1. 18:03
    EXOPLANET and SEXPISTOLS went right in from the clues, PERESTROIKA with only two crosses and AMERICANPHAROAH with only the ___OAH, so a good deal of this puzzle opened up pretty quickly (for me). CHAPLIN was a gimme (WC Fields wouldn't fit). VERB was nicely clued; I was racking my brain trying to figure out what fish and chicken had in common. I agree with Colum's assessment of BSS. Also, I flew over Pyramid Lake on the way into RENO a few years back to view the annular solar eclipse that was centered near there. The clue for ERECT could be considered as blue material.

  2. 26:16
    I can never remember those damn horse names, and I was stuck on SAYHEYKID because I didn't read the clue carefully and spent a lot of time trying to think of another famous Atlanta Brave... Oh well.

    There was a lot in here that I didn't know, but I enjoyed the challenge. I did not, however, think that the fish/chicken/turkey clue was quite fair, because "chicken" on its own, is not ever used without "out" when used as a verb, is it? "Did you chicken?" "Will he chicken, or not?" No. I would have much preferred "Fish or beef," instead. Because, as you can plainly see, I'm beefing about this clue, not chickening.

    That lengthy complaint aside, I really did enjoy this one.

  3. 27:57
    I had all sorts of problems with this one, including inexplicably not being able to remember a recent triple-crown winner.

    Perhaps the most agonizing was needing all the crosses to get the critical DCAREA clue (9D: The NIH is based in it), despite living in the DC Area and driving past NIH many times.

    I'm going to forget this puzzle happened. At least I finished it.