Saturday, April 6, 2019

Saturday, April 6, 2019, Ned White


I took a rather big first bite out of this hamburger-shaped puzzle, grinding through the top half in relatively short order. Things got a little more gristle-y around CHASSE (32A: Gliding ballet move) (which was complicated by having entered "pUr" for HUM (33D: Well-tuned engine output)), and NADA (42A: Squat), but even those went down eventually.


On the very bottom I got TREASUREMAP (63A: Prop in "Raiders of the Lost Ark") and most of SNUFFLEUPAGUS (62A: Woolly "Sesame Street" character whose first name is Aloysius). I am pretty sure I was watching the episode on which he was introduced, and I put in what I thought might be right immediately, but it wasn't perfect, which led to some difficulty with TAMILS (44D: Many Sri Lankans) and even PEU (60D: Little: Fr.). I had scAM for FLAM (56D: Deception, informally), and flailed with duPE for POPE (55D: Innocent, perhaps), which made SPF (54A: Blockage letters) impossible. And the "famous" FRAFILIPPOLIPPI was no help whatsoever. In short, it was a HOTMESS.

That said, I applaud the puzzle. As I've said many times on this blog, I'm ok with it when a puzzle beats me. I can't know everything, and it's nice to be reminded of that from time to time. The artist was a curveball, but I should have been able to get POPE, FLAM, and SPF. They were trickily clued, and I just wasn't on that wavelength this morning.

I loved the misdirection of "27A: Big dos" (FETES). Did anyone else notice that the oft-seen-in-crosswords "afroS" fit in there? And "29A: Calls to reserve?" (LETS) (tennis reference) was very clever. NUNHOOD (1D: What one may be in the habit for?) was amusing, and it was nice to be reminded that the two-dollar bill is still valid U.S. currency with "3D: Jeffersons." The only thing that I really didn't think was real was TWINPAC (21D: Pair of things sold together, in commercialese). Maybe I just don't pay attention to commercialese spellings, though. That could be.

Overall, while I probably would not say that I was NUTSABOUT this one, I certainly didn't dislike it. It was challenging, and it had lots of fun, interesting material. Thumbs up. I just wish I had solved it.

- Horace


  1. DNF (in 46:56)
    I'm with you, Horace. Everything went relatively (for a Saturday) swimmingly, in about 20 minutes, except for the bottom. I never heard of the artist, and my incorrect spelling of SNUFFLEUPAGUS left me unable to see ALFA (I was thinking along the lines of a concert and wanted AriA in there), and unable to get PEU, with which I am completely unfamiliar. I entered afroS first, BTW, before getting the crosses. Happily, I entered both POPE and FLAM, having gotten SPF off of the clue and TREASUREMAP after a couple of crosses. I tried Tsk instead of TUT at first, too. Shout out to the clue for NYE since it specifically mentions the Planetary Society, of which I am a long-time member (currently on the "Visionary" level). A good challenge, but like Horace, I wish that I could have come up with the correct answers in the south.

  2. 16:56 FWOE

    I liked this puzzle, although it was a strange solve for me and the Archivist in that I initially entered several incorrect answers: coNvent for NUNHOOD, afroS for FETES, Tsk for TUT, ITSgone for ITSAHIT, TWINset for TWINpac (which I have no problem with, BTW, it's a thing), and SWOOPin for SWOOPUP. I usually don't do that, typically keeping things all in my head until I have confirming crosses. It's certainly a legacy of crosswords-in-pen days, if not younger days when my memory could keep entire sections straight and them fill them in en masse. Anyway, with this puzzle I somehow went the other way, but keeping mentally straight only answers with which I had great confidence from those that were more impulsive. But it seemed to all work out thanks to more of the former than the latter. I was not fooled by LETS, nor FETES, at least not for long. TWOS was easy and WINSOMELOSESOME fell into place with just a couple of crosses, as did the rest of the north. Off and running...

    Two other things: our error was FLiM for FlAM, which, well, I'm not embarrassed by that. We were not aided by uncertainty with the spelling of Mr. SNUFFLEUPAGUS, even though we knew the character.

    And I would have sworn during the solve that we'd had FRAFILIPPOLIPPI, in some form, in the rather recent past. But the most recent I can find is from Sept 21, 2009, a few years before this hallowed blog began. Perhaps it was a different crossword...

  3. 13:51
    I tried NUNnery, afroS, FilmS, TWINset, and majORS. I also had SWOOPin. That's a lot of things that had to be taken out. But fortunately, all were taken out and corrected before the final square was filled in (for once). I absolutely love the top three rows. NOTABADIDEA! BUTWILLITWORK? WINSOMELOSESOME...