Saturday, August 5, 2017

Saturday, August 5, 2017, David Phillips


This is exactly the kind of themeless I love. It's super smooth with a number of fun entries and misleading clues. I don't know that there are any answers which are so new or fresh, but the solve was fun and the flow was reasonably nice.

My first entry was AVE, but that led nowhere, so I moved to the SW, where figuring out 45A: Unembellished type (SANSSERIF) opened up the area reasonably quickly. SEEKER (along with "bludger" and "sweeper") have entered into the lingo as reasonable words because of Harry Potter. Much better than your run-of-the-mill -ER word. I also enjoyed 66A: Rumble in the night (SNORE). I chuckled.

I had a little difficulty at 53A: Draft picks? (OXEN), where I put in alEs. The actual answer is so much more satisfying, both because it's less commonly seen in the puzzle, and because it's a plural without -S. It also allowed 43D: Collection of favorites, of a sort (MIXTAPE), which was so satisfying to figure out.

62A: Expert on the drums? (EARDOCTOR) did not fool me for a second. I must have had my Saturday clue reading HATS on. This stack was really excellent, with 65A: Get through lines quickly (SPEEDREAD), and the truly excellent PETSOUNDS. Number one was always going to be Sgt. Pepper's, but I think you could make a strong argument for those two albums to be reversed. Thoughts?
Note the mace
29A: "You don't have to tell me twice!" (YEAHIKNOW) was a stumbling point, as I had put "I heard you," which fit so well. I guess the clue did have to tell me twice.

I came back up to the NE which fell once I had RASH and SAKE in place. The stack here is not quite as lovely as the SW one. 1A: Double-digit figure? (PEACESIGN) gets an A from me, for the excellent clue, the great answer, and the importance of the sentiment. 15A: Spider producer (ALFAROMEO) was probably a gimme for some solvers, but not this one. LEFTALONE is somewhat blah.

Who knew a Loonie had ELEVEN sides? That makes it a hendecagon.

Finally, the NE is the least satisfying corner. I'm not sure I agree with NTHPOWER as a "high degree of proof." Otherwise you've got URE, which is probably my least favorite answer in the puzzle, and the Britishism PANTO.

But overall very nice puzzle.

- Colum


  1. 26:42
    Pretty easy and smooth Saturday for me. I loved the SAKE/JAPAN pairing, of course, and I'm with Colum on the MIXTAPE/OXEN cross. 39A Joint (SLAMMER) is great because it could have gone so many ways. Both PETSOUNDS and Sgt. Pepper's easily stand the test of time (in contrast, the excellent Rubber Soul sounds dated). Which of the two to put on depends on my mood. I don't quite agree with the clue for HASBEENS (35D Old stars), but I'll accept it. I was slowed a bit in the SW because I entered the non-existent rocKMAN instead of the correct HAWKMAN, but my time was fast for me for a Saturday, so IMOKAY. Funny clue for JIM, and shout out to SINE.

  2. 22:47 (FWOE)
    Spelled SAKi as if it were the crossword-friendly author, and I guess I was sounding out GENiSES rather than spelling it as I checked the grid over, so it took me at least a few minutes to figure out what was wrong.

    Also, I didn't get BITES (52A: On-line jerks?) until Colum and I looked at it confusedly together and both said at the same time, "Fishing!" Hah! That's a very nice clue.

    I was all set to make a definitive pronouncement about PETSOUNDS and Sgt. Pepper's, but then I reviewed the songlist of each, and now I'm stuck again...

    I liked this one. Solid Turn this week!

  3. 16:35
    Don't get me wrong. PETSOUNDS is a great, seminal album and a deserving number 2. But Colum was right the first time: "Number one was always going to be Sgt. Pepper's." And, to me, it's not close.

  4. 27:57
    Worst time of the group, but some consolation in that I did not have any errors.

    What I loved about this puzzle (and not uncommon for a Saturday) was that on first blush I decided there was absolutely nothing I could fill in and I might as well give up. But I kept picking away at it and then at some point it was done and I was happy.

    The section with GENESES and ALFAROMEO was the hardest for me.

    I'll have to recuse myself on the PETSOUNDS discussion, as it was slightly before my time and I don't want to embarrass myself my saying something like Dark Side of the Moon was better.