Saturday, July 20, 2019

Saturday, July 20, 2019, Sam Trabucco


A really nice puzzle today. Looking at it now, the shape looks a bit unorthodox - at least to this untrained eye - but I like the swirling paths from the NE down into the East, the reverse of that in the SW, and the fairly open center. There are those narrow straits in the NW and SE, but overall, it felt open.


I guessed "Save" at 1D: Prime directive? (SHOP) (better), and wasn't fooled by 3D: Guy's gal (AMIE) or 7D: Class in which kids may learn about sin? (TRIG), but I feel my big break came at 8D: Best-selling game with a hexagonal board (SETTLERSOFCATAN), which I was able to drop in thanks to my oldest brother's family, who play this quite frequently.

Off of that, SGTPEPPER ("Bandleader" with a 1967 #1 album), LAM (On the ____), ELROY (Man's name that means "the king"), and even TOPFORTY (Hit list) and NERDFEST (Comic con, e.g.) were made much easier.

Along with all of that, I made several missteps: ahIsEeIT for OHIGETIT, SLEDdIng for SLEDRIDE, MADEASceNe for MADEASTINK, and AintthISTHELIFE for AHTHISISTHELIFE. I think those were the big ones.

There's good material all over the place. BEERME, SEESAW, PARITY, APERITIFS, LUXE, LONEWOLF, HOMECURE, SPAMBOTS, and more. Sure, SLEDRIDE is not natural-sounding, and nobody wants to be reminded of the STARR Report, but overall, this was a high quality puzzle.

One last thing - I kind of wish HATARI had been clued as Iceland's 2019 Eurovision entry, but I suppose that kind of reference will have to wait a few years. The U.S. is supposedly getting its own version of the European blockbuster in 2021. You heard it here first!

- Horace


  1. 23:27 (FWTE)
    One was idiotic: SPAMBOTS/POHL cross, where I'd entered a "c" early on, thinking of scams, and never looked back. The other was at JANK/JASPER, where I guessed a "c" but wrongly, as it turns out. I, too, dropped AMIE and TRIG right in, but needed the three Ps for SGTPEPPER to make itself clear. And I also tried MADEASceNe before seeing that the end of 34A needed to be ____LIFE thanks to the gimmes LONEWOLF and APERITIFS. PACMAN was nicely clued and I vow to one day say BEERME to someone. Excellent to see PUREMATH in there, which I do on occasion, paying special attention to number theory, for the most part. Oh, and I tried MEtAlica (probably incorrectly spelled, but who cares?) where MEGADETH goes; I generally don't take a thrash metal.

  2. Wonderfully smooth and enjoyable solve for me...and, I, too, look forward to saying "BEER ME!" :-)