Saturday, January 12, 2019

Saturday, January 12, 2019, Sam Trabucco


A fun themeless, pinned together by four 12-letter answers: DRAMACOACHES (7D: Ones who help people get their acts together?) (Nice), MIRACLEONICE (18D: Sports Illustrated named it #1 in its "100 Greatest Moments in Sports History) (Sports are not as important as people think they are), PUTONACLINIC, and IMSPEECHLESS. Very nice skeleton, that.

Is it possible that I'm right in counting only eight answers that are neither crossing nor running alongside one of those four? That's pretty cool. And I'm sure it put a lot of pressure on poor Mr. Trabucco as he attempted to find adequate fill. Which is, perhaps, why we find things like SEZ (8D: States, informally), JER (14D: "Seinfeld" nickname), ARIE (20A: Nickname for Adrianus) (Okaaayyyy....), and ORD (45D: Onetime California fort) hiding in dark places. Incidentally, I think I played disc golf either on the former Fort ORD base or near it the last time I was in California, which was not very recently, btw.

Feminist Icon, MSPACMAN
Excellent clue alerts at: 52A: Something that's secretive (GLAND) (ew), 1A: Game players? (PEPBAND), and 3D: Pass on (PERISH). Did not see that one coming!

It's a little weird that we have the symmetrical SKITEAM and NFCTEAM, but I suppose that, too, is due to the structure. And while we're on the topic of symmetrical clues, I'll mention two more that worked well for Frannie and me - ELMIRA (50A: New York city west of Binghamton) - because we have close friends from both Binghamton and ELMIRA (and because of the "It's a Wonderful Life" ELMIRA reference), and BENETS Readers Encyclopedia, which is one of Frannie's favorite books! If you don't have a set (it can be had in two volumes), do yourself a favor and pick one up on eBay or abebooks. It's great to just page through while you're having a cup of coffee or tea. Or heck, even a cocktail.

I enjoyed solving this, even with the complete unknown in the middle, and I appreciate the non-Dr. Zhivago clue for LARA (Hi MLou! :) ). Much of the longer material was strong, and I kind of liked just blasting through it. I hope it went well for you, too.

- Horace

p.s. Remember POGS?


  1. 35:17 (FWTE)
    It went smoothly enough, except for my two errors. I never heard of PEPBANDS or POGS, and tried a "z" there (which would have been a great letter at 1), and I erroneously figured that LeCTORS seemed correct at 44A, even though I know that AMARILLO is spelled that way, not with an "e." The rest was fine, although SCACCHI is unknown and, yes, ARIE is terrible. I also never heard of the Grammy-winning group GORILLAZ. I wanted knickerS where BREECHES goes, which slowed me down some, and I put in RANCHER and LISP several times temporarily before finally leaving them both in. SYSTOLE at 36D Cardiac contraction is fantastic. I entered ICEGIANT and ZIRCONIA off of their clues. OVERBORE is a word I'd never use, but it's certainly fair game on a Saturday.

  2. Well, this one I struggled with...not withstanding the "LARA" clue - thanks for the shout out, Horace! lol
    21:14 - not as good as it seems since I "gave up" and revealed a bunch of words - but not POGS since I do remember when all those young kids were collecting them!
    Say - if I go get that Benet's Reader, will some of you go watch that old movie, "The Player"? Classically and weirdly directed by Robert Altman - and a nearly 70 year old Dina Merrill looks fantastically hot. As does a young Greta Scacchi!
    Thanks for the great discussion