Saturday, September 9, 2017

Saturday, September 9, 2017, John Guzzetta and Michael Hawkins


I very much enjoyed this puzzle. The eleven-letter answers are all quite strong. ADEALSADEAL (13D: "We agreed to it, so you'd better deliver") looks particularly odd to me all bunched up like that, and I love the entire SE stack. PRNIGHTMARE (64A: Big headache for a company rep) and SPIDEYSENSE (66A: Intuition about something soon to happen) are both terrific.

In addition to the long stuff, there are quality entries like TROTH (33A: Loyalty, old-style), STRAFE (6D: Fire on from above), TINEAR (20A: Difficulty picking up subtleties), NODICE (28A: "Ain't gonna happen!"), CIRCA (55A: Date preceder), and EGOTRIP (40D: A star might go on one). I enjoyed CHERE (29D: Start of a billet-doux), and the clue for TRIBE (26D: Crow, for one). And I don't know why, but the two Cs in FLACCID (42D: Like a wet noodle) surprised me. It looks like it should be pronounced with a hard C sound, but I've always said it as though it were spelled "flassid." Is that what you've done? The Google and my dictionary tell me it should be more like "flaksid," but Classical Latin (Ecclesiastical Latinists, feel free to chime in) would have it as "flakid," I'm pretty sure. Either way, it's a fun word to have in the grid, and it's a fun pairing with 17A.

1A: Like night and day (WORLDSAPART) - A. It's not funny, but it's quite good.
Favorite: NASA (49A: Team in Houston) - I was fooled for so long!
Least: MENSAN (47A: Person with a mental bloc?) - There's so much to dislike about MENSA, do we need to make it even more unpleasant with the adjectivization?

There were a few minor bits of glue, and I think of 7D: "The Governator" as "Ahnold" rather than ARNIE, but overall, I loved it.

- Horace


  1. 19:56
    In a panic to be under 20 on a Saturday, I needed to guess at the CHERE/ROLFE cross, considering briefly to put in a "w." Luckily, I guessed correctly with four seconds to spare, and avoided a "FWOE." And yes, this was a great one. It, for me, was a very smooth fill (except for the aforementioned cross), and had it not been for that cross, I'd have finished in about 17 or so. It always helps me with the fill when I can fill in partials, like ___DEFENSE, _____SENSE, ______SUMMIT and ______AROUND. I thought that a funny pairing, too (GOTTURNEDON, FLACCID). BTW, I've always pronounced it "flassid," when I've had to pronounce it at all.

  2. 11:23
    I've had a good run of times these last few days. Probably just a few easier puzzles this week.

    I also enjoyed this one very much.

    1. Very good times these past two days! I think you're down in Colum territory, although that remains to be seen, I guess. :)

  3. This was a pretty easy Saturday. Not really much resistance anywhere. ANI "____ ohev otach" (Hebrew for "I love you") strikes me as borderline unacceptable. What, any word from any foreign language is OK now if the constructor puts it in some random phrase? I also do not like at all RET for "Like hall-of-fame inductees, typically." What happened to the convention of including an abbreviation in the clue when the answer is an abbreviation? I agree that ARNIE is poor. Favorite entry was ADOLESCENTS for "Minority group." Saturdays should be harder.

  4. 11:43
    Finished with my mother in NYC. Very nice puzzle, and an enjoyable solve, except that the diagonal black squares cut one half of the puzzle apart from the other half. Nice time, Mike Berman!