Saturday, September 4, 2021

Saturday, September 4, 2021, Byron Walden

Dear Reader, remember yesterday, when I said that the puzzle's constructors' names struck fear in my heart? Well, at that time, I had forgotten about the name Byron Walden, or, as he probably wouldn't mind being called, "Mr. Saturday." He's done 102 puzzles for the New York Times, and 65 of them have been Saturdays. Zero Mondays. You've gotta respect that. And today's was especially Saturday-y.

RAWEGG on top of tartare

This one had a few different levels for me. There were the little things that gave me toeholds here and there, like ERS (Sounds of hesitation) (Sure, it could have been "ums," but I got lucky), CENTERS (Hockey players who face off in a face-off), and FINALS (Term terminus). Then there were the things I had to pull out from the depths, like PARSIMONY (Mental or fiscal tightness), GAMINS (Waifs), and BALLISTA (Ancient siege weapon for launching stones). (And hey, guess what? "Catapult" fits perfectly in that spot. Grrr.) And then there were the answers that just needed every single cross, like HIALEAH (Florida city with a large Cuban American population (70+%)), ABADAN (Iranian port near the Iraq border), and KRYPTO (Superman's dog). 

But along the way, there were plenty of smiles. "Falling hard?" (HAILING), "Someone who has it all" (MONOPOLIST), and "Access to a country club, in brief?" (UNMEMBERSHIP). Very, very nice. And "Got in a lather, say" (SHAMPOOED). Lovely. And the clue "As you like it" for DESIRABLE is just so perfect. Just as I like it. :)

Strong entries were everywhere - DELVE, IDONTASK, HACIENDA, SHOAL, SNORT, ONALARK, LOGIC, FORTY, GADS, ASYLA, LISTLESS, COPTO, MERCH, ... and what was there to complain about? A tiny ALO here ... maybe an ALG there. Not even worth mentioning.

It took me nearly half an hour, which, these days, is rare, but it was a very satisfying, very enjoyable half an hour. Thanks, Mr. Walden.

- Horace


  1. Here's how not to do a Saturday crossword: Go out for cocktails + wine with family, then watch tennis until 1 am, THEN hit the xword. Especially this one - fraught with pitfalls and stubbornly resistant to solving. I had NUCLEI in instead of ANODES for the longest time ("Hah!" I said, "one easy one, at least") and the whole top center area took what felt like forever. Fantastic fun! 15:43 but felt much longer :)

    Happy long weekend all!

  2. Got started QUICK enough with OVER/UNDER which, for me, was a gimme. As was Superman's dog, which made short order of the entire NW and let me slide downward via UN MEMBERSHIP. Thought I'd be approaching Philbo territory, but no...even though I did fairly well in the SW, the NE crushed me. RANGE LAND. Just couldn't get it. I couldn't wrap my mind around "chaparral" being anything other than vegetation. Still, ON NARCISSISM, which I'd never heard of, came easily enough, given the clue and that I already had the ONN in place. Great entries throughout, and the clues are terrific. (But I still think of Rich Norris as "Mister Saturday" :-))

  3. Definitely a tough Saturday. I actually finished the NW corner pretty quickly, thanks to OVALS, TLC, and OSHA. But I had a harder time getting out of that corner. Some gimmies like MEYER, ELAN, RELO, and TET helped. LOGIC should have been a gimme. I liked 40A: Falling hard? (HAILING). 11:47.