Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday, January 19, 2018, David J. Kahn


This was a tough one for me, and I finished with a total mess in the NW corner. I had entered tIT for 32A: Small grouse (NIT), thinking of birds rather than complaints, and then ALLINONEPRINTER just would not scan for me. Added to my misery was my insistence on Neo-cOns at 19A (NOIR), and GRipBAR (?) at 1A: Help during the fall? (GRABBAR). In short, it was a real BEAR.

So I was stung by being beaten today, but honestly, I'm glad it still happens from time to time. Well... glad? I don't know, but maybe you know what I mean.

6-Down ASTER = "STAR" in Latin

So what about the hidden composer and listening device? When I saw the H I immediately thought of Haydn (sorry Handel fans!), but soon enough it became clear that they were looking for Beethoven, and earphones. Is it worth the giant H? Does the giant H make any sense? Not really. I would have preferred a mini-theme that actually had something to do with the letter. Kind of more like Bruce Haight's "I" puzzle that I disliked so much. :) (Sorry Bruce!) It's ok, though, we've talked it over, and I've come around at least a little on stunt puzzles. But here, the stunt just doesn't make any sense.

Elsewhere, I felt that 38A: Nap sack (COT) was a bit of a stretch. Sure, we say "hit the sack," so I suppose one could say that any bed-like thing is a "sack," but I don't think it really works like that, especially when there are such things as "sleep sacks" and sleeping bags. And "42A: Fluff" for ERROR? That's also a stretch. Not unfair, but tough. And Googling to find evidence of the SAAB slogan "The relentless pursuit of common sense" brings up only references to today's crossword, and one print ad with that line that also says "This is not an original SAAB advertisement, but it could be." Combine all that with EDATE, MEI Lan, and lots of other clueing that was steeply SLOPEd, and it makes for a kind of a slog solve. At least for me.

It's always a DELICATEBALANCE, I suppose, and you can't always please everyone. Hopefully, you liked it better than I did.

- Horace


  1. 45:32 FWOE
    I'm pretty sure this is my worst time ever for a Friday puzzle. I encountered all of the issues Horace noted, plus many more. I brought my son in for reinforcement, which at least gave me GEMINI, but still no victory.

    The one letter that finally did me in was where the Beatles song at 60A (IMEMINE) crossed TAMA (53D: Janowitz). Of course I had IMAGINE for a while and then ALLINONEPRINTER put an end to that.

    Other challenges in this one for me were PARADOR, PIERO, MEI, and ELENA. I guess most all of the proper names.

    This wasn't much fun. On the plus side, I figured out the theme quickly, which gave me BEET instead of ACAI. If it wasn't for that, I might still be working on the puzzle instead of writing this.

    I'm glad Horace mentioned his research on SAAB. Because now I can conclude that this puzzle was simply unfair, which oddly makes me feel a little bit better. But does not give me my 45 minutes back.

    1. Oh, you youngster... Imagine is a John Lennon song. It came out after the Beatles had broken up. IMEMINE was one of the few things that went in without crosses for me. I guess it's one thing I can put in the plus column about being old!

  2. Untimed, but easily over 20 minutes, and Hope helped me out. This was super duper tough. I didn't even notice the note on my printed puzzle, so missed any help that might have offered, which couldn't have been much. I certainly noticed the big H, and thought there might be a theme, but nothing turned up (that I recognized, that is).

    Other unfairnesses? 8D: Light-colored and medium-sweet (PALEDRY). Huh? If you google this, you get exactly this definition, which means I believe they did exactly that, google it. I got SAAB because what other car company starts with S___? I also knew PIERO and IMEMINE. I had tIT as well.

    My favorite part was UNLACED over PAYLESS.

    Not the greatest turn, this week, but it was a real challenge!

  3. Around 1/2-hour on paper on an airplane (FWOE)
    So it goes without saying (though I'll say it) that it was also immediately following a Lorazepam with 3-oz. of vodka to wash it down (at 5:50 AM). My error was at the cross of TAMA/IMEMINE, where I'd guessed an "r" and couldn't think of any Beatles song called "Imerine" or anything similar, so I gave up. The rest seemed fine to me, although it took me slightly longer than a typical Friday time. I didn't try "tIT."

  4. 44:45 FWOE
    I don't seem to have had as much difficulty with this puzzle as others did, judging by the comments. I thought it was challenging, and, as you seen, I did not solve it at a blistering pace, but that's par for the course for me on a Friday. I, like Mr. Berman, tripped over GEMINI. I am out of touch with the celebrity panda world, and guessed lEI instead of M. With the L in there, creating a real melee in the south west. :)