Saturday, December 21, 2019

Saturday, December 21, 2019, Julian Lim


Today's puzzle was a struggle for this solver. If I had to guess, I'd say that M. Lim and I don't share many wheelhouses. On the upside, I CLOVE to, and did eventually prevail. To give you an idea of my initial success, here are the answers I was able to enter on my first pass through the puzzle, across and down:

Yup. That's it. I picked up and put down the puzzle several times all morning. I really had to TRI and TIMOR, staring at the clues until the correct answer ARIZ to mind. Often, I was rewarded for my efforts by wonderfully clever clue/answer pairs (more on those below), but there were a few that just didn't line up for me:

HOTSYTOTSY for A-O.K. I'm not sure where the overlap in the Venn diagram of meanings for the clue and answer lies.

Nixes, as a plan (TORPEDOES) - here it's the degree that seems off. Nixes seems more like says no to, while torpedoes seems like a much more aggressive, intentional wrecking.

Polo playing? (TERI), apparently Teri Polo is an actress, which I surmised, but still I thought the clue tried too hard to be clever.

And the two-fer clue at 24A/26A: "Origin of many refugees once in 26-Across, for short." (NAM / GUAM) - the clue was more confusing than illuminating.

SANDALWOOD, part of the same botanical family as European mistletoe. Timely!
The above required QUORA of critiques aside, there were ODES of excellent clue/answer pairs. This group produced that Aha! feeling I so enjoy when I figure out a clever twist in a clue. They get AAVERAGES in my book.
"Stick in the mud" (MIRE)
"Digs" (PAD)
"Attitude" (LIP)
"Really fancy" (CRAVE) - this one had me stumped forever, I was stuck on the decorative meaning of fancy. Trixsy!
"Unpublicized date" (TRYST) - ha!
And my favorite clue in the entire puzzle was "He is one" (INERTGAS) - Excellent!

To top it off, we get a reference to an old favorite EMILEZOLA. But can we all agree that its good riddance to "Bygone ad figure" JOECAMEL?



  1. 28:08
    Yeah, this was a toughie, for sure. What, Frannie doesn't like JOECAMEL? I read the clue too fast and put in mrpeAnut, which worked well for ANWAR, but nothing else. And of course, Mr. Peanut is not "bygone," nor does he wear sunglasses (it's a monocle). TERI is completely unknown to me, so that answer needed all crosses, but luckily three of them were fairly easy. I never heard the "modern lingo" SQUADGOALS, but with a few crosses I was able to figure it out. And I agree wholeheartedly with Frannie on the INERTGAS clue being, hands-down, the best of the puzzle.

  2. 10:10
    I plowed through this one pretty well, although I'm with Frannie in that I didn't much care for HOTSYTOTSY. I guess I thought it meant something more like hoity-toity, which seems kind of incompatible with "good." I also agree that TORPEDOES is more like "sabotages," not just "nixes." More sinister.