Saturday, January 18, 2020

Saturday, January 18, 2020, Ryan McCarty


Now that’s what I call a challenging Saturday themeless! That huge chunk of white space in the NW corner, the clever clues, the ways I got tricked... Just the way I like them, and a great capper to The Turn this week.

I worked my way through nearly the entire puzzle with little to show for it, except several mistakes. I put ICEcAstleS and IDOS in, but found myself stymied for the moment in the NW. Then I moved on to the NE where my first big mistake came. At 10D: “Winner winner chicken dinner!” I put taUnt, then compounded that mistake by putting in rUby, and compounded THAT mistake by entering thrEedmovie at 9D: Leisure activity for which you need glasses (WINETASTING). That is an outstanding non-QMC, by the way.

Sometimes, though, getting something wrong can make you get something right, and here I entered POPAWHEELIE from the one correct letter in that long incorrect answer, and that opened up the entire NW for me. I love 14D: Baste (SEW). What a great example of how the English language has so much ambiguity in its definitions. SLIPSHOD is beautiful, and how about the delicately understated 13A: Some naturally heated pools (LAVALAKES). Well... yes, you’re right, but not the kind of pool anyone would want to take a dip in!

IVEMOVEDON - so good. And I love 26A: Green people (NOVICES). Meanwhile, SIDEWALKART moved me into the SW, but nothing else came for a while. So I fixed up the NE corner by finally removing my incorrect answer when NADIR and KNEES made it clear it wouldn’t work.

So much goodness I don’t have space for it all. I’ll close by noting the two answers clued by “shade:” TINT and TAD. And the third “Shaded area” - UMBRA. Taking full advantage of English.

Have a lovely weekend, and Horace will be taking over again tomorrow. I’ll have to remember to ask him what he thought of today...

- Colum


  1. 10:23
    I got back on track today in a big way! Just in time to start my week. Phew!

    This was really lovely. BLUESTONE, IVEMOVEDON, BADDATES ("Emergency calls" may save you from them), PONIEDUP... so much good stuff! There's that weird little GIL/GILA area right in the middle, but I enjoy being reminded of the great GIL Scott-Heron, so it's all good.

    Really nice.

  2. 28:28
    Just under the combined time of Horace and Colum! Not bad. Being a little slower has some advantages, among them not entering too many wrong guesses that compound problems. EARFLAP was excellent (to add to the above lists), and one of my problems was caused here since off of the ____AP, I entered a "c" just before it. That slowed the SE corner down a little. I also tried raTTRAP at 32D, doing me no favors with ANTISPAM and BLUESTONE. However, it filled in properly eventually, and in not too bad a time for a Saturday. On a side note, I am an official UMBRAphile, with our third trip planned now for later this year in Chile, just before NAVIDAD.