## Saturday, May 21, 2022

### Saturday, May 21, 2022, Ryan McCarty and Yacob Yonas

Tomorrow is the last day of my vacation, but today we go to pick up Cecelia from college, so that makes up for a lot. She's been super productive this year, and her art is just blowing my mind. Looking forward to having her around the house for a little while!

It's been a good week both vacation-wise and crossword puzzle-wise. Today's solve was sort of steady and non-stop. My only difficulty really came from putting in OPERACloak (is that a thing? apparently it is) rather than OPERACAPES. The clue does not give a hint as to singular or plural. I more frequently notice clues that indicate a plural but the answer is a group noun without an -S at the end.

I started out with 2D: Nipple ring? (AREOLA), confirmed by SAT and ALIT. It's one of my favorite ways to start a chunky white square grid like this, with the 3- and 4-letter answers that sit at the bottom of the NW corner. 1D: They can lead to long sentences (COMMAS) is an excellent non-QMC clue. 1A: Rolls dough, perhaps? (CARPAYMENT) was a tough get. I was thinking some sort of counterfeiting operation.

 Jules et Jim

I was unable to exit the area however. I suspected YOUHEARDME was going to be something along those lines, but didn't feel comfortable putting it in. And 9D: Michelangelo, e.g. (NINJATURTLE) is such an excellent answer and vague enough clue that I didn't recognize which direction to go in, at least until I started the NE corner and ended up with JETSKIS.

In the SW corner, 35D: Positive impression (GOODVIBE) is a very modern answer. Nowadays I hear the word "vibe" used in all sorts of ways. Back in my day, we never thought of using it that way. Kids these days.

I like 28A: What a duck might be (BATHTOY) and 31A: Climb the social ladder, in a way (MARRYUP).  And as a final note, 51D: Results of some successful defenses (PHDS) is excellent.

Well, that's it for me this week. Back to Horace tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

- Colum