Friday, June 8, 2018

Friday, June 8, 2018, Caleb Madison


I had a lot of fun with this puzzle, with one small area of difficulty. The corners are filled with contemporary zing, and there are some fun extras scattered throughout. Just the kind of pithy Friday I like!

I broke in with ACESIT and ESTS, neither very promising. But then BEATSBYDRE fell into place, along with THEMETGALA, very timely given that Ocean's 8 is opening today, centering around a heist at that very event. For 15A: Brought about (OCCASIONED), I had __CA_IONED, and struggled not to put vaCAtIONED in. It just wanted to be there. Or maybe that's what I'd like to be doing...

Having dropped my YOGAPANTS, um, I mean, dropped it in to the grid, I found myself working the middle of the puzzle. We've seen SALAMI clued as "One hanging around in a deli?" before, or something very similar, so I was not fooled at all.

31A: Taking on a new identity, in a way (TRANSGENDER) had me scratching my head for a bit. I think the point is that no new identity is taken on. Rather the gender is reassigned to match what's already in place internally, if that makes sense? But we were right back on track with 37A: One of 32 for Beethoven (PIANOSONATA), which was a gimme for me, as I am actually working my way through them currently. I just finished playing 22 last night.

I had no difficulties at all with the SE. GINORMOUS and the straightforward OSSICLE led me down, and with those two in place, I hit the excellent 55A: Leave one's drawers in the drawer, say (GOCOMMANDO). Best of the day, in my opinion. The other two long answers down there aren't as interesting, though.

I love all the Zs in the NE. I don't love POLLER or WAHS, and ITISSO feels awkwardly formal.

My biggest difficulty came in the SW corner. I had entered YENTa. I don't know how many times I've made this error. A yenta is a gossip. YENTE is the name of the matchmaker in Fiddler on the Roof. Yentl is the name of Barbra Streisand's character who disguises herself as a boy in order to continue to study the Torah.

Anyway, that made RINGER hard to see, which made BENIGN a malign entry.

And with that, I call NIBS on some rye for tonight.

- Colum


  1. I had a ton of trouble in that very same spot, and eventually just took a DNF, even though everything up until that point had fallen in only ten minutes.

    Entering STRAIn ("Tough situation) made YENTE impossible to see. I guess I should see "Fiddler" someday... anyway, I also did not know BYRNES, and I toyed with other first vowels for RDA... just a mess.

    Agree that the 10s were good, especially GOCOMMANDO.

  2. Untimed, on a plane
    My plan was to read the Worcester Telegram and solve the Friday NYT puzzle on the plane, but I finished the former prior to boarding, and the latter prior to backing away from the gate, so that didn't quite work out. The PIANOSONATA thing was a gimme for me, too, but not because I'm playing them, just because I have memorized a little about the master over the years. I agree with Colum wholeheartedly that GOCOMMANDO is far-and-away the best. I'd never heard of this hall-of-famer Duke, but luckily the crosses, as usual, are fair. OSSICLE is fantastic, and, oddly, gettable (38D Anvil, hammer or stirrup) for even a non-medical person; I immediately thought of the middle ear. ILLUMINATI went in with just a couple of crosses.