Saturday, December 7, 2019

Saturday, December 7, 2019, Kevin G. Der and Erik Agard


My gratitude today is for music. It's such an important part of my life, both the making of and the listening to. This weekend, we get to go hear CECE (nice shout out, Mr. Der and Mr. Agard, to my daughter) play with the New York State All-State symphony orchestra. She'll be playing the fourth movement of Mahler's first symphony, one of the all time greatest pieces of music (but not my favorite of his).

Saturday did not disappoint, finishing off a really outstanding turn, in my opinion. This was one of the hardest puzzles I've done in a long time. Let's start with where I finished. 26A: Do loops? (HEADBANDS). I stared at this answer for a full ten seconds after finishing the puzzle, trying to figure out how that could possible be the correct answer. But you see, the word "do" here is short for "hairdo," not the verb "to do." That with the crossing PANES (the full sheet of stamps that is sold a the post office) left me really unsure.

But there was a lot of misdirection going on here, as befits a Saturday. How about 6D: Dairy farm product (METHANE)? Without even a question mark. Because of course it is too true, and the bane of our planet, given how many cows we support across the globe. Also 11D: Alt's opposite (NEU). That's German, one of the least used European languages in the crossword, in my experience. I had no idea what was asked for there for a long time.

One of my favorite clues is 25D: Other hand (CREWMATE). Wow! That is pushing the limit, and I love it. And how about 42: Setting for a plastered cast? (WRAPPARTY). I figured it out very quickly, but it's a beautifully crafted clue.

Nothing much more to report here: a fine puzzle, a good challenging solve, and a couple of personal connections (the other being the obvious BOSOX). Well, that's me for another week of reviews. Tomorrow, Horace is back on the beat.

- Colum


  1. I loved solving this was hard, but fun. The clues cracked me up!

  2. 20:41
    Yeah, this was a tough one! But yes, satisfying and fun. And I found the grid shape quite pleasing too.

    "Other hand" (CREWMATE) took me a long while, and ASTATINE and CHIBA were totally unknown to me. So many good clues, though... WRAPPARTY was great, as were LOWFAT (Light on packaging) and GOTTABOUNCE (How a security guard might say goodbye?). Hah!

  3. DNF in 76:23
    I had four errors, which is too many for me to consider this one solved. I didn't know SEATO or ASTATINE and guessed an "s" for that cross, I had NEo where NEU goes (I didn't check the cross, sadly), and for 1A I tried fEz because I wasn't seeing TRESCHIC and do not know ASL or NEKOCASE. So there you go. But the rest was enjoyable, even though it was somewhat of a slog.