Saturday, October 7, 2017

Saturday, October 7, 2017, Byron Walden


Wednesday's tour de force and now this! A puzzle PACT with spectacular next-level cluing. Horace and I agree that 8D. Candy ass? (PINATA) is a strong contender for clue of the year. It's really top drawer. And it's not alone. Other fabulous clues include:
24A. Unslurred speech? PCLANGUAGE
3D. Fabulous speaker LIAR
9D. Green field? ECOLOGY
25D. They go to all the best spots CLIOAWARDS
29D. Dish transmitters GOSSIPS - the O was my last square and it cost me at least five minutes of time. I had G_SSIPS but my brain insisted on parsing the answer as two words, with the second word being SIPS. No good. Obviously, I also didn't know the song on the soundtracks of "Lilo & Stitch" and "Surf's Up". Derp.

In addition to the nonpareils mentioned above, there are great clues that might otherwise take top billing, but in this level of puzzle they become runners up:
16A. Give takes OPINE
35A. Line of clothing INSEAM
46D. Stock holders PENS

There's also straight up fabulous fill like SMUG, GELID, GOBS, and LONGWINDED (or what this review is becoming).

I am giving 1A. an A because who doesn't love a HELLSCAPE?


The excellence of the puzzle makes it seem ungenerous to mention the modicum of PAP that is present, but it is my understanding that reviews should include the bad, or in this case, the not-so-great, with the good. In this category, we have EXDA (2A. Rudy Guliani or Chris Christie), AHORSE (27D. Mounted), and EPEEIST (20D. One who tries to avoid being touched) although, in this case, it's a good clue for a not-so-great answer.

That's two for the books in one week. Thank you NYT crossword puzzle constructors. :)



  1. 16:47
    A challenging Saturday! What fun. My hardest section was the NE corner. Of course "Kennedy Era" fits at 12D (LINCOLNERA). Even once I fixed that, I was stymied for a while because I had put BOLo in for BOLA (not the tie, silly). Worse, I had lOtS for GOBS. Once all of that was fixed, no problem!

    Cool looking grid, even though there's segmentation. But really a lot of fun. Nicely done, Mr. Walden.

  2. 21:11
    Loved it. I fell into the same trap with "Kennedy Era" (Frannie pointed out that "Johnson Era" also fit) and the same mistake with BOLo. The A was my last square.

    Loved the grid, loved the clues, loved the puzzle. If I see you at the next ACPT, Mr. Walden, I am going to introduce myself and shake your hand.

  3. Agree, this was fabulous. The good kind of fabulous. You spotlighted most of the good stuff. I'm with you on candy ass, but HELLSCAPE might be the 1-Across of the year. I had never heard of RATT and I'm sure they're awful, but I was amused by the two albums cited. Also liked the spiffed up clue for the tired entry ODEON. Loved this one!

  4. 23:35
    Great puzzle and great write-up as well. Only minor hang up was having ADORATION for a while instead of ADULATION. Not sure I'll ever understand the difference between these.

    Also had CITYSCAPE for 1A but didn't take too long to get that figured out and cleaned up.

  5. 59:47
    Like Mr. Berman, I entered citySCAPE and dropped in ymcA at 4D off of the "y," even though the year cited was far too early for that terrible song. Quality fill here, as has been roundly mentioned, but no one mentioned CONDOM. That's daring, no? I also loved INFULLSAIL and agree wholeheartedly with PINATA; I LOLed when I figured that one out. I assume that ET59 has already purchased those RATT albums.