Saturday, November 18, 2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017, Sam Trabucco


I enjoyed solving today's puzzle, but I have to admit after looking over some of the answers here, there are some I'm not convinced by.

Let's start with 1A: Youngster in a stream (OTTERPUP). I mean, nobody's going to be upset by these guys:

But still, wouldn't they just be called pups? Or if you had a bunch of baby dogs and baby otters together, I could see having to say, "Well, let's only put the otter pups in the water, not the dog pups." And that might come up all the time in a perfect world, but to tell the truth, I've never come across that particular situation in my life.

So that's a lot of words to explain why I can only give 1A at B-.

I am similarly not particularly convinced by DATATYPE (would anybody ever say that?), while MSDEGREE sounds a bit off (it's something that would be written but not said: in conversation you'd just say "Master's degree," or even more likely, "Master's").

Fortunately, there's plenty here that's far more LEGIT. For example, my favorite answer (and the first one I put in with confidence after Kung PAO chicken) was 12D: Absence of preconceived notions (TABULARASA). And today, CHASEUTLEY makes a full-named appearance. I think of him primarily as a Phillie, but times change.

Similarly, 29D: The hardest part when making guacamole? (AVOCADOPIT) made me go YEAHDUDE! Not literally, mind you. I don't make a habit of shouting out my approval as I solve a NYT crossword puzzle. People might get TEED off.

The Pokémon slogan I could do without, but it's a nice 15-letter answer, so there you go. I guess that makes it inevitable that it would find its way into the puzzle, and today is its debut.

I finished in the NW, where I wanted ohpLEASE. The actual answer, PUHLEASE is much better. And UBERPOOL is nicely contemporary. On the other hand, I don't, as a rule, take a DEWLAP.

I give it a thumbs up overall.

- Colum


  1. 33:49
    I had a rough time with that SE corner. Only had PETEACHER and couldn't break in with anything else. YEAHDUDE I guess I needed an MSDEGREE to be able to get those answers.

    So despite immediately filling in GOTTACATCHEMALL, CHASEUTLEY, and DATATYPE, this thing still took me over 30 minutes.

  2. DATATYPE is totally LEGIT, whereas I was not particularly convinced by OPUS for Overture, e.g. Is the overture alone ever considered an opus? I defer to you music nerds, but it seems sketchy to me. It took me forever to get PIED (Like slapstick comics, often), but when I did, I was amused. SCOREPAD was nice for Match book? Also, BURP. Ha!

    1. Yes, an overture can be its own opus (c.f. Brahms Academic Festival Overture, opus 80, and Tragic Overture, opus 81).

  3. 23:50 (FWOE)
    Did you notice that "blankslAte" fits in where TABULARASA belongs? I did. And when I told Frannie, she said she had "openminded." That's pretty cool.

    My error came at ELROPa, which I thought I had heard before. And it's funny (sort of), I had LA_ARPARTY for a long while, and I convinced myself that it must be a Hebrew word that I didn't know. I guess when I finally got BETATESTER (love the clue for this one "Bug catcher, often") I didn't go back to look at 28A. Ah well..

    I liked this. Not perfect, but certainly good. And boy, STRADS took me every cross and then some! I should have known better.

  4. Around an hour (on paper)
    Typical for the last three Saturdays, which for me have seemed on the difficult side. But I don't mind that at all, since I want that in a Saturday puzzle. ADSALE was nicely clued, too (to add to the above comments), with the hidden capital (26A People might profit from it). Just lots of great stuff in here.