Friday, December 4, 2020

Friday, December 4, 2020, Patti Varol and Doug Peterson


11-stacks in the corners - it must be the weekend. I thought all six of them were good, but my favorite is probably MINISTERING (Tending (to)) because it is so uncommon. I don't think I've ever seen it in a crossword before. Indeed, a check on xword info confirms this is its first appearance in the NYTX (and also Ms. Varol's first byline - congratulations!). It's also the first appearance of GRETAGERWIG's full name, but her first name was in just last month (with her last name in the clue), and since I used a photo of her to illustrate that post, I was able to fill it in today with only a few crosses. 


Can you believe that "Unforgettable ... With Love" is almost thirty years old? Sure, IGOTANAME is almost fifty, but that does seem pretty old, whereas I remember that video of NATALIECOLE singing with her father as though it came out maybe ten years ago. Sigh. I guess if you look around, it's a little bit of an older vibe, with CASSETTES (Tapes, say), ALIENS (1986 sci-fi film sequel) and FAGEN (Steely Dan singer Donald) also in the grid. (Of course, if all the cultural references were from the 2010s, I'd never complete a single crossword!)

Regular readers will know we here at HAFDTNYTCPFCA enjoy trivia like "World's deepest river" (THECONGO), and "Survivor at the end of 'Hamlet'" (HORATIO). For the latter, I initially thought of Fortinbras, but he only strong arms (see what I did there?) his way in at the end, whereas HORATIO actually survived the Act V bloodbath. 

It's funny about trivia clues, though, because there are definitely different levels. A reference to perhaps the most famous play in the English language, or the "world's deepest river," are certainly things that most people either ought to know, or ought to be happy to know, don't you think?. "Los Angeles suburb bordering Griffith Park" (GLENDALE), on the other hand, doesn't feel quite as satisfying. And I don't think I'm just being a SORELOSER for not knowing it. 

Lots of "double clues" in this one. Or, single clues with two answers. What should those be called? Like "Young woman" used for both LASS and DAMSEL, or "Long-legged waders" for IBISES and HERONS. The second example is more dastardly, because both (and egrets, for that matter) have the same number of letters!

Overall, this seemed a fine Friday. Not exceptional, but good.

- Horace



  1. 4:15

    Wow! No speed solver am I, which is why I don't post my times, but this one flew by for me. Nice and smooth, and even though I didn't know GRETA's last name, the crossers made it for me.

    You can call them "two-fers"...

    1. Very impressive, Kelly! Nice time for any day, let alone a Friday!

    2. Thank you, Colum! For someone who landed in the cellar at every ACPT I've ever attended, this was a biggie for me! :-)

    3. Wow!! Yes, very nice time! Congrats!

  2. 16:33
    Holy crap! That's some time up there, Kelly! And I thought it went smoothly for me. I loved AGORAPHOBIA because the roots occur often in crosswords and it was nice to see them together. Also, I was able to PLOPS it right in off of the clue, so that helped. The end of CATTLETHIEF took a couple of crosses though, as did CASSETTES, even though I am of the age where I had hundreds, both commercially produced (which were all of terrible quality) and those that I made from LPs, which were always on high-quality Maxell 90-minute blanks. I still have a number of unused, brand new in-the-package if anyone needs some, cheap. Nice to see ELPASO in there. Thank goodness the Grateful Dead sang it (389 times in concert between 1969 and 1995), because the Robbins version is lacking; some may disagree. I tried roadTAR instead of PINETAR at first, which maybe contributed to my slower time.