Saturday, May 23, 2020

Saturday, May 23, 2020, Wyna Liu and Erik Agard


I really should take the words of advice at 19A: Reprimand to the overly speedy (ITSNOTARACE) more to heart in my solving experience. I get very easily frustrated when an area refuses to fall into place.

In fact, today, I solved the upper and central portion in under a third of my total solving time, and the remaining section in the lower area took the remainder. A few errors made life difficult for me. I entered an A for the last O in DIADELOSMUERTOS. I've never taken Spanish, but my knowledge of other Romance languages should have made it clear that that couldn't be possible. But to be honest, these were the kinds of mistakes I routinely made on French tests, so it was in good keeping with my nature.

Two other incorrect entries made the SW corner nigh impossible. I put RoutE in place at 45D: R, in a postal abbreviation (RHODE), those two correct letters making it difficult to give it up. And I put in aleS for KEGS.

Eventually, I did what you should always do: remove all and look at it afresh. I was sure that MATHLETES was correct (nice QMC there), because IDONTGETIT was definitely right, as was DOH. Odd to have that and DUH in the same puzzle. Then when I managed CHECKPLEASE, it all came together.
There is so much goodness in this grid, it made it lovely to solve even if frustrating. CLOSESHAVES, ABITSTRANGE, and especially the really excellent 33A: Held eye contact for too long, say (MADEITWEIRD).

Also great were some of the small bits. I liked 46A: Red states, once (USSR) crossing 47D: Makes red in the face? (SLAPS). Also, 9D: Bring into existence (ERECT) and 10D: Brought into existence (SIRED). That shows an attention to detail, having these related clues so close to each other.

Finally, I'll note the insane 31D: Shortened again (OER). That is such a great bit of misdirection.

Not a race. Right. ROGERTHAT.

- Colum


  1. Thoroughly enjoyed this one -- everything really seemed to sing! And I'm grateful that the constructors and editors acknowledged the all-important distinction between "DUH" and "DOH" -- two entirely :-)

  2. 15:32
    Oh sure, the one day I beat you and it's suddenly not a race! :)

    Seriously, though, I enjoyed this one too, for all the reasons you mentioned. Everything over 8 letters was very good, and even the shorter stuff was mostly strong. Never heard of Timor-Leste, or "AMOR Gitano," but those are only WEE things, and really, they're on me.

  3. 27:13
    I don't remember that particular clue for OBOE, nor did I know that was part of any phonetic alphabet. This was a good, solid Saturday. I had no slowdowns, but my pace isn't particularly impressive. Nice to see SUE in the grid, as well as ASS. Also, OCTAL and CONE crossing MATHLETES was pleasing.