Friday, September 27, 2019

Friday, September 27, 2019, Jack Mowat


I was PLEASEd to finish below the 30 minute mark on this one - even if I was under by only a GUCCI. Between minutes 20 and 29, I was mangling my STRESSBALL and staring a DNF in the face. At first, I thought the puzzle played fast for a Friday until it all came down to a very confusing - for this solver, anyway - midsection. It would  probably be quicker for me to list the entries that I wasn't stymied by, but that's no way to write a puzzle review.

The trouble began with the two long downs that start in the northwest. Of what did the problem consist? Mostly NONGMOCORN. Actually, that's not strictly true, albeit hilarious. I did have trouble with the NGMO portion of that one, but the real stumper up there was INTERFACES (Meets (with)). I went from INTERsectS to INTERlACES, but couldn't make the rest of the section work - obviously, since they both were wrong. Rack my brain as I might, I couldn't think of an answer for "Tease" (25A) that fit the pattern G_O_ _N. I didn't know Mr. Cube's real name (OSHEA Jackson), or the name of Jupiter's sister, and my book learnin' sadly didn't include the word TOPOS (Traditional literary theme or motif). I was in a pickle, so I put the puzzle down for a while. I decided to look at it once more before I went on a walk and, boom! I suddenly posited GOOFON for "Tease," and the rest, as they say, is history. Phew! While none of the clue/answer pairs were unfair, it was a little unfortunate for this solver that Mr. Mowat ELECTed to put all the ones that were tough for me in the same part of the puzzle. What was he thinking?!?! :)

The east, by contrast, I FELT was easy peasy. Thanks to the new Ken Burns documentary, "Country Music," BRENDALEE was fresh in my mind - so to speak. Has everyone been watching that on PBS? From SURF to SYFY I had no CERES problems.

The south west was the section I enjoyed the most, with the fun "It gets the party started" ICEBREAKER and "Rakes it in" MAKESAMINT. Plus, who doesn't like a CASK of something?

The mid- and southeast had some fine fill as well. I liked "They lead people underground" SUBWAYMAPS. And, URBANDECAY is great fill for a puzzle, if not a city. Despite my lack of literary chops, the word MEWL - always puts me in mind of "All the world's a stage."


One good puzzle deserves another: if one needs RADAR for TORNADOTRACKING what does one need to track a "Sharknado"?



  1. 29:50
    I finished all but the west coast in around nine minutes, but from the NW to the W, I kept putting things in, taking them out, staring, all to no avail. Finally, I decided to just erase everything, when I had the epiphany that I should try IANS instead of the looS that I'd confidently entered previously for 40A Johns across the pond, and it all broke loose. After that, I finished in under two minutes to get the solve in under 30, like Frannie. PUTBY and STORE was a nice adjacent pairing (Lay aside). I'm not familiar with ZUNI, and I, too, tried INTERlACES, but was saved by GOOFON (eventually). I was previously unfamiliar with the term GREENWASH, but I know my share of people that masquerade thus. I'd take a CASK of just about anything, PLEASE.

  2. 9:41

    Yeah, that NW section was tough. I had looS too, and I also tried "iris" where UVEA belonged. But that old standby "erase everything" does the trick more often than not.