Friday, September 1, 2017

Friday, September 1, 2017, Patrick Berry


Thanks, Colum, for a fun month of reviews! You went out on a high note, and I start September with a silky-smooth Patrick Berry Friday grid! It doesn't get much better than that.

I started out quickly today with PAXROMANA (13A: Period ushered in by Augustus) - a giveaway for this Latinist. Not being a full classicist hurt me, however, in not knowing "Clytemnestra's half sister" (HELEN) without several crosses. Still, it's interesting to know, and I'll try to remember it. Also interesting to learn about the prior use for METHANOL (1A: What the earliest cars used as antifreeze). I think that probably deserves an A-.

So much good, long material today. SUCCINCTLY (Without wasting a word), SMORGASBORD (Choice meal?) (my favorite today), LAYAWAYPLAN (The seller takes no interest in it) (Ha!), and the fun MONKEYBARS (Another name for a horizontal ladder). Somewhat less scintillating were MARKERPEN (Soft-headed writer?) (trying to be cute, but really, don't most people just say "marker?") and RETOTALED (Verified the count of). But they're not terrible, and look, I haven't even mentioned OBELISK, CASPIANSEA, or CANAPE (Party platter tidbit). Mmmm.... canap├ęs...

For all this loveliness, we are asked to accept TRINI (Certain Caribbean islander, informally) (are we still talking about TRINI Lopez, here?), SHOAT (Little Swine), and CEBU (Pacific Island Magellan visited in 1521). This last one is my least favorite answer today. Sure, it's a little interesting to learn about, but come on... nobody but nobody knows that.

Great start to the month. I'm already looking forward to tomorrow!

- Horace

p.s. Funny that Huygens was just mentioning OPERABOXES in his comment yesterday. I wonder if he dropped that right in today?


  1. I mostly agree about the smoothness of the grid and about the overall quality of the puzzle. (I guess the two three-letter trios, HON/AMC/NAT and ETA/ROD/ATE, have to be accepted. On a positive note, I like the variation in the cluing of ETA, "GPS guess.") I had the same misgivings about TRINI, but, hell, it does seem to show up in, so maybe it's a real thing. CEBU I totally like. IF the grid demands CEBU, at least give us the nicely detailed trivia clue we get here. Plus, it's not as if CEBU is a tiny, obscure island; it's the 9th largest island in the Philippines. And all of the crosses are gettable. Funny thing about the cluing for METHANOL--if you had told me yesterday that methanol was still the active ingredient in antifreeze, I would have accepted that without question. What do I know what they put in antifreeze! I enjoyed "Unlikely winner at the Masters." At first--somewhat stupidly, in retrospect--I was running through Willett, Immelman, Mize, Aaron . . . Loved the CASPIANSEA clue. Agree about the good long material, with two notable exceptions: MARKERPEN is indeed poor, but worse for me is MESSAROUND. That clue just doesn't fit. Bottom line, Berry's name on a puzzle is always a welcome sight. Enjoyable, if not terribly difficult solve. (Anybody else put in toM for "Huck's pal"? Dumb on a Friday, yes, but it fit with MATT!

  2. 17:15 (FWOE)
    ET59 must not hear many "Forensic Files" shows if he doesn't know of ethylene glycol. And Horace, I did, in fact, notice OPERABOXES. I also dropped PAXROMANA in off of the _____MANA. HELEN, sadly, took a few crosses for me, too. GEORGEWILL went right in since I'm well aware of his love for the national pastime. I'm glad that Queen JANE made it into the grid with, oddly, no allusion to Dylan. DEADEYES was interesting; I expected some mafia reference. All-in-all, very smooth. My error came at the CEBU/DUPES cross, where I'd guessed "o." Ninth largest Philippines island? Certainly that's not very big. We were on the 11th largest island in the world, and hadn't heard of it prior to our planned trip last year.

  3. 17:21 (FWOE)
    Filled in the three sports answers straight away, but was ultimately done in by SHOAT and MACLEAN, which gave me LOT instead of TON.