Saturday, April 3, 2021

Saturday, April 3, 2021, Peter A. Collins

Such fun to have a tough Saturday puzzle. Today's played twice as hard as yesterday's puzzle, which may reflect more on Friday's than on today's. But at the beginning, I thought it might be a breeze.

Sometimes things just drop into your brain when you see a clue. When I looked at 1A: Kind of poet, and saw a four-letter answer, I immediately thought of BEAT. Don't know why. It seemed to make sense. Then BRACHS was enough to convince me I had it correct. Other answers here slipped into place quickly, and the corner was done before I could blink twice. Or so.

I love the clue at 20A: Part of a driver's manual (CLUTCH). Oh, that's brilliant. Even as I filled the letters in, it didn't click until all the letters were in place. When I did fill it in, I was worried because of the ___HC at 5D, but HIGHC put paid to that.

I guessed NNE for 28A (the N seemed to make sense with the starting K from HAMHOCK), and with YON in place, KNOTTY was a good answer for 25D: Tough. The other two down answer there followed, and then the triple stack in the middle of the puzzle opened up.

32A: "Squee!" (IMSOEXCITED) is good, better for the clue than the answer. I almost wish things were the other way around. I'd like to see "squee" as an answer. FLIRTATIOUS and ALLTATTEDUP are also fun answers. I had ALLTATTooed first, but EXTENT suggested otherwise.

Taylor Swift's PLAIT

Finally I got THETHRILLISGONE. Possibly other solvers figured that out earlier. How many of you knew ALMAATA? My mother said it was a gimme for her. Turns out this was the Russian version of the Kazakh name Almaty, which is what it goes by now. Still, as I filled in the corner, I turned a wary eye on that double A.

My only other major sticking area came in the NE. In part this was because I couldn't see the initial verb in KICKSITUPANOTCH. I tried "takes" and "bumps." I liked THICKSET for "squat" and 9D: Turn (SPOIL). 

Well, it's been a fun week. I continue to enjoy solving the puzzle, and sharing my thoughts with you. Enjoy Horace's week upcoming, starting tomorrow!

- Colum


  1. I, too, ended up in the NE, for the same reasons, but overall this played slightly quicker for me than yesterday's. And as for the "Former name of Kazakhstan's largest city?" Yeah, that was all crosses.

  2. All crosses for me with ALMAATA, too, but as for the remainder of the puzzle, it filled in pretty quickly for me (18:36). Not many KNOTTY areas. I once saw one of the TEENMOM shows, or its predecessor (I can't really remember which), and it was more depressing than entertaining, but maybe that's just me. Somewhat racy having SPERM clued with "bank" instead of the whale. I loved the inclusion of CURIOUSER.