Saturday, January 2, 2021

Saturday, January 2, 2021, Joe Deeney


There's a lot to like in this second puzzle of the new year. I enjoyed the many entertainingly tricky C/APs throughout the grid. Mr. Deeney kicks things off at 2A with "Band for an awards ceremony" which turned out to be SASH rather than say, Styx or Toto :). Directly on its heels, the surprisingly (in retrospect) trixy ROLLERBAG ("It has wheels and flies"). I actually had ROLLERBA_, but couldn't figure out what would fit in that last small space. I had to run the alphabet to determine the final letter as the Down in this case "'Family Feud' airer" (GSN) was no help to this solver. 

Elsewhere in the grid I enjoyed "Aren't wrong?" (AINT) - ha! I was amused by "Become incapable of parting?" (GOBALD), and I thought TRUEST for "Level best?" and PAT for "Back stroke?" were also very nice. 

In the non-QMC category, we have "Promising area" (ALTAR) and the excellent "Shade from the sun" (TAN). One of my favorites may seem rather mundane, but that's partly why I like it so much: "The lion's share" (MOSTOFIT) - apt!


I had the most difficulty with, and in fact ended my solve in the south east corner. If it hadn't been for a chance encounter with the "2020 Christopher Nolan sci-fi thriller" TENET on an end-of-the-year British comedy panel show Horace and I watched on New Year's Eve, I might be stuck there yet. 

The fill is a Scrabble player's paradise with AQUAZUMBA, THIRSTQUENCHER and MOOJUICE, not to mention the grid-spanning EEQUALSMCSQUARED. Cha ching!

For some reason, the pattern of the grid seemed a bit unusual to me, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow for knowledgeable commentary on that and similarly relevant aspects of puzzle construction, when my esteemed co-blogger Colum Amory takes over the reviews. Until next time, fare well dear readers.



  1. 49:05
    I just about doubled Frannie's time, but that's OK. I loved EEQUALSMCSQUARED because I've never seen it spelled out like that. I've known a person with a GLASSEYE. He claimed he needed to get a larger one every couple of years because the weight of it progressively enlarged his eye socket, which I found interesting but icky. I remember the HUSTLE, and watching my older brother practice it with the neighbor girl for hours on end. That was the 70s for you: a bit OFF. Nice to see Mauna KEA represented, as well as the talk of ORIONS sword. My favorite part is the middle "star," of course. ASTERISKS had me stumped for a while, and I tried yodA off of the A in OOLALA, but of course it was LEIA who led the Resistance (I am more of a "Star Trek" fan). Never heard of SEMELE, and LATE took a long time to come in (I wanted LAmE at first, but couldn't see how a non-stick cooking spray would have anything to do with a back, or going back, UNLESS....

  2. 1 hour, at least
    I was so proud of myself for plopping in the center spanner (16 letters long, Frannie which may be wide the grid seemed unusual to you) you'd think I'd made the puzzle myself. That Q gave me THIRST QUENCHER...and then I floundered around for awhile. The clues were devilishly tricky for me, but completely fair and even funny in retrospect. Never heard of HELLA-COOL or AQUA-ZUMBA. And I *wish* I had some formula for remembering the difference between UMA and UTA. All in all a real challenge...and a lovely time of it!

  3. Such a fun puzzle! I solved it with all of the family, everybody contributing. Hope, in particular, got EEQUALSMCSQUARED off of the second E, which was pretty amazing.