Friday, April 13, 2018

Saturday, April 14, 2018, Sam Ezersky


I shuddered briefly when I saw Mr. Ezersky's name on this grid, because he was the constructor of the final puzzle at the ACPT this year, and that seemed like a hard puzzle. But on the other hand, the winner finished it in less than five minutes, so...
Lots of trickery and misleading in this one. Take, for example, "41D: Opposite of free" (ENSLAVE). I was thinking of free as an adjective and was looking for something like "in irons" - but no - it was a verb all along! Or "37A: Pub fixture," (ALETAP), where I tried to get fancy and dropped in "barfly." Nope. Or "57A: Fashion" (CREATE), where I was trying to think of a six-letter synonym for "style." Well... the noun "style," not the verb "style." Hah!

Other missteps included "whistles" for REDCARDS (62A: Play stoppers), "juIceD" for ROIDED (45D: Used performance-enhancing substances, in slang), and "Sailor" for SEAMAN (1D: Salt).

I'm not sure I'm totally in love with BCHORD (47D: Group of notes reflecting a five-sharp scale) (clue too tortured), or SODACANS (1A: Tabs are kept on them) (clue trying too hard), but there's a ton of stuff that I do love in here. ABDUCT (6D: Shanghai), CUPOFTEA (9D: Personal interest, metaphorically), SLAY (33D: Kill it), BELABOR (40D: Go on and on about), PESTER (18A: Nag), ... and many others.

As for MASHNOTES (11D: Expressions of affection) and DOTCODOTUK (3D: Part of a London web address), well... I've learned a couple things today.

Overall, I enjoyed this quite a bit. I only wish CANO were clued with "Arma virumque ____." :)

- Horace


  1. 32:36
    Well, neither the offered clue nor the one that Horace suggests would help me with CANO, for which I needed all of the crosses. Which is unfortunate, since I needed most of the crosses for MICROUSB. I, too, tried barfly for ALETAP. I also tried a couple of different entries for 1D - oldtAr and SEAtAr - before finally settling on SEAMAN, which I associate more with the USN than with the term "salt." I wholeheartedly agree with BCHORD. 34A Half a rack (ANTLER) had me thinking of a six-pack, so I somehow wanted to crowbar three cans of beer in there. The rest was fine, though I'd never heard of MASHNOTES. URANIA is excellent.

  2. 9:57
    Right up my alley, apparently, although I was never going to finish his ACPT puzzle with the difficult clues in less than 40 minutes.

    I broke in with CANO, a gimme of a clue for any passing baseball fan, which gave me SODACANS. I'd been thinking 1A would be about pulltabs, but that and the lucky guess on SEAMN made the NW too easy.

    The transition from the NW/NE to the SW/SE was very difficult. DOTCODOTUK was never going to show up, and 27D: Conductor of science experiments on TV only brought Mr. Nye the Science Guy to my mind. That plus the impossible clue for OMAR (OmeR? ObeR? so many possibilities) meant I had to start the other half of the puzzle from scratch.

    Great puzzle.