Saturday, December 15, 2018

Saturday, December 15, 2018, Erik Asgard


There is a lot to like about today's puzzle: some fun entries, quad stacks of 10-letter answers, and clever cluing, all of which I've come to expect from Mr. Agard. So why didn't I enjoy the solve more? I think it's because part of the difficulty arose from the segmentation of the grid: having to start anew in various sections (see: the NW and SE corners, as well as the center E and W, to a lesser degree) makes the flow of solving slower.

But on the good stuff: I just used CHUTZPAH in a recent review, and here it is, and with the perfect clue (5D: Arguing with God, for example). The CHUPACABRA is a South and Central Americas version of a vampire, and came up recently in a game of Monikers, so it was familiar to me. But look at that crossing: Yiddish and Spanish, "old" world and "new" world. Great juxtaposition!

I enjoyed the clue at 16A: What might precede a parachute jump (HESITATION). Very funny! 26D: United, e.g. (SOCCERTEAM) was quite challenging in its ambiguity.

PIEDPIPER and ELGRECO were two nice answers crossing those quad stacks. I've also noted a tendency in the young constructors to utilize answers with unexpected congregations of consonants. Today, there is MRMOM, SITNSPIN (that TNSP!), and CDDRIVE.

The clue that got me today was 25D: One method of locating schools (SONAR). That was tricky, and I appreciate the distinct not-being-there of the question mark.

Outside of BIOL and PBRS (Pabst Blue Ribbons, apparently), there's little to complain about in the fill. Overall, I'll give it a thumbs up, but definitely not as good as yesterday's.

- Colum


  1. Great picture of the mist here. I can almost see the chupacabra come sneaking in! It was an entry I knew, but I had to wait for the crossings to get the exact spelling.
    I, too, had that section by section solving experience. I thought that I was finally getting, wait, only cracked that one section! On to the next.
    Still, it took me nearly 3x as long to finish as Colum's time. That's what I get for being (presumably) older and for trying to solve and watch Netflix at the same time.
    Good, solid puzzle for a Saturday.

  2. 20:35
    I enjoyed this one, too. ZAMBEZI was tough, POLK was funny, and the quad stacks were both excellent. Never had a SITNSPIN, but it still brought a big smile when I filled it in. :)