Saturday, November 11, 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017, George Barany and Michael Shteyman


It's an unexpected "meta" type of theme today. There are ELEVEN 11-letter answers in the grid, commemorating VETERANSDAY, as in 11/11. And thus came to an end one of the most pointless conflicts in human history. But let's not think about that. Let's acknowledge the very nice construction of today's puzzle, and have an unofficial ranking of all 11 answers, as follows:

1. PUSSYGALORE. Obviously.
2. VETERANSDAY. Would have won in most lists, if number 1 hadn't been present.
3. HORRORFLICK. I tried ____movie, then ____story. "Flick" is so much better.
4. GUADALCANAL. So many lovely vowels to fit in the grid.
5. PESTCONTROL. For the clue: 39A: Debugging? So simple.
6. MARENOSTRUM. Latin is always welcome.
7. ROBERTSTACK. A complete name, and he has such a great role in Airplane!
11. ACCOUNTSFOR. Too generic.

That's 10 out of 11 that I would say are pretty strong to very strong answers. Nice work!

In other news, I entered the puzzle confidently at 1D: "Yentl" setting (SHTETL), and enjoyed the Agatha Christie complaint about her own creation (POIROT). I am interested in seeing Kenneth Branagh with that ridiculous mustache on screen soon.

33A: Text alert? (NOTABENE) will surely appeal to certain readers of this blog. QUEENBEY is a winner, and I also liked INAPANIC.

There were a ton of 3-letter answers, necessary, I'm sure, to get all those 11-letter answers into the grid. 32A: Old union member: Abbr. (SSR) is an example of how to gussy up a somewhat tired old piece of crosswordese. I'm not so fond of DPI, URI, RMN, RIN. 45A: It doesn't come full circle (ARC) is really quite nice.

1A: Array in ancient battles (SPEARS) - B+.
Least fave: AWS (41A: Comments like "Yer joshin'!"). Huh? Is this actually any kind of real life term? Or was it just made up on the spot? I'm lost.

- Colum


  1. 16:20
    I was pretty pleased to work through this with a modicum of celerity, although I see that our esteemed leader did even better. Kudos.

    It certainly helped to have a few freebies, which we almost never get on a Saturday (including 60A that simply asked if I could count to eleven).

    I also knew SHTETL, which just for a moment made me feel like I was in the exclusive click of elite New York Times readers from (say) Borough Park.

    This was an ambitious and excellent puzzle - every bit worthy of its theme honoring our heroes.

  2. Here is my ranking of the 11 elevenses:
    1. MARENOSTRUM. Loved this old chestnut
    2. VETERANSDAY. This one goes to 11. Well done!
    3. GUADALCANAL. Speaking of Airplane! This is where McCrosky (Bridges) got the better part of his ear shot off.
    4. ROBERTSTACK. The foot's on the other hand now, Kramer.
    5. TAKEANUMBER. Apt!
    6. DRAFTANIMAL. Solid.
    7. PESTCONTROL. Yes, please.
    8. TIREBALANCE. Necessary.
    9. ACCOUNTSFOR. Tally ho!
    10. HORRORFLICK. I don't take a HORRORFLICK, or movie, or story.
    11. PUSSYGALORE. Obviously.


  3. 52:34
    I like Colum's ranking better, but Frannie's is amusing. I didn't know SHTETL, needing the TIREBALANCE cross to finish it off. I don't understand AWS, either; luckily it crossed ASIMOV, WECARE and the excellent STOLEN (43D Like home, on rare occasions). As you can tell from my time, this one wasn't an easy romp for me, but it was enjoyable. I hadn't thought about VASELINE for a while, but if I ever have xerosis, I'll hopefully remember it.