Saturday, September 28, 2019

Saturday, September 28, 2019, Alex Eaton-Salners


Well, this Saturday offering was almost as easy as pie, but it had one or two curves that gave me a little strudel. I couldn't get 1A right off, but the next two Across answers, SEASHANTIES and CHARLOTTESWEB, went right in, and then I was on a roll.

I worked my way from top to bottom. The short answers in the center were generally straightforward, with the sweet spot being the center. I did come up empty at 48A with "Winner of the 1955 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry" (WALLACESTEVENS), but I was able to fill that in after I got a few downs.

Then, it was time to circle back to the top. My only real set back was at the very top of the roll. I am not familiar with the "Hit FX police drama of 2002-08." I didn't know 4D: "Japanese instrument with 17 bamboos pipes" (SHO) or 9D: DEWITT Clinton (or is it Clinton DEWITT?), and I wasn't too sure about the football abbreviation at 6D. Plus, I was, at first, duped, as intended, by 5D: "It may be measured in gallons" and I started with vAT. That left me with three empty squares and a mistake up there, making even a guess at the show title difficult. Eventually, I got INT ("Defensive football stat: Abbr."), and I corrected vAT to HAT - ha! - which was the breakthrough I needed for THESHEILD.

In addition to being led down the garden path by 5D, there were a few other forks in the road where the "obvious" answers were wrong.
"Crop grown in paddies" (TARO) -  I went with rice, at first.
"In which you might see an exchange of bishops" (SYNOD). Chess anyone?
"It might be taken to the pound" seemed similar, but none of the obvious answers (cat, dog, stray) had four letters. It turned out to be REPO.

My tenth grade English teacher, Mr. Fernandez (hi!) would have been proud to see me drop in WAS at 34A. He made us memorize the beginning of "A Tale of Two Cities." He told us it would come in handy at cocktail parties when we got older. It hasn't come up over drinks yet, but it served me well in the puzzle today.


Both long answers (SECRETWEAPONS and BEERBARRELS) in the east were solid. I was very happy to see our old friend EEL in the puzzle again. It's been too long. :) ERR was on hand, too, just like old times.

But the icing on the cake were the question mark clues including "Hatcher of plots?" (TERI), "Union busters?" (DIVORCEPAPERS), "Gets to the point?" TAPERS, and my favorite, "Ones in funny shorts" (STOOGES) - LOL.

I found it odd that the acronym NSFW clue didn't call for an acronymic answer (LEWD), and I'm not a fan of the word PURTY. I do love a SWISSROLL as much as the next guy, but I've never seen one in a shop that actually called itself a PATISSERIE. Perhaps I should spend more time in Switzerland.



  1. 27:03
    Blistering time, Frannie! I thought I was doing pretty well when I got the Congratulations! pencil in less time than yesterday's puzzle, but there you go. I always need a few crosses when there's and "ah" answer, such as we get at 23A (AAAH); I'm never sure whether it'll be ahhh, for example. I, too, entered rice with confidence where TARO goes, but I dropped STOOGES in off of the clue. I also entered DIVORCE_____ off of the clue, but needed crosses for the remainder. TERI went in right away, as did SEASHANTIES and CHARLOTTESWEB. SHAWARMA, however, is completely unknown to me, and I'm sure to not remember it if ever I see the clue "Street food prepared on a rotisserie" again in my lifetime, which is unlikely. I waited for a cross for LEWD, thinking it could be blue, too.

  2. 7:37

    This is my fastest Saturday in quite some time - possibly ever - and it's my fastest time this week since Monday! I was ENFUEGO!

    Still, I needed crosses for almost every long entry except SEASHANTIES, but fortunately, the crosses all went pretty smoothly.

    Interesting shape, and a rare "mini-theme" Saturday.

  3. 7:08
    Yes, this went quickly, for sure. Lots of fun. I appreciated getting WALLACESTEVENS, and it definitely took some crosses to figure out. I never watched THESHIELD, but got it after one or two crosses, helped by figuring out HAT with my Saturday clue radar up and running.