Saturday, September 24, 2022

Saturday, September 24, 2022, Martin Ashwood-Smith

As if I could see the future! Yesterday's review was prescient, because Friday was certainly harder than Saturday this week. Looking back on the two grids, I think at least part of it is that elusive quality, flow. Yesterday's grid does not lend itself to cascading answers falling into place as you solve. While today's has the NW and the SE pretty isolated, the swath from NE to SW starts to fall like dominos as you get certain entries in place.

Also, I didn't have missteps or errors along the way. That helps.

Of course, getting 1A: Unwanted items (CASTOFFS) immediately starts you off on the right foot. I confirmed with OPI and FENS before entering, but then the NW corner went pretty quickly. Nice acknowledgement of the early 1970s Oakland Athletics, with World Series wins in 1972-1974 for the THREEPEAT, a term apparently invented and trademarked by the coach of the 1989 Los Angeles Lakers, Pat Riley. The Lakers did not succeed in that goal.

13D: You'd prefer to have service in it (TENNIS) is some fun misdirection. No wi-fi or roaming issues here.


Even though I couldn't get any exit from that corner, 27A: String game (CATSCRADLE) started me off in the middle. I worked up into the NE corner, where Shakespeare's "What's" INA / NAME helped out a bunch. 12D: Final participant (TESTEE) was not what I expected, maybe swayed by the earlier sports clue.

Funnily enough, although I had ____ERAID, I couldn't finish that clue for a while, due to misparsing it as ___er aid. SEROTONIN was a gimme for this doctor, but I had to resort to the SE corner to help me out. 

I love the clue for ARSENIC. Dark humor! 56A: Caves (SPELUNKS) is a great clue also. 54A: Thy're sen n ths cle (DELETIONS) wins the award for most peculiar clue this year.

Finally, with SCOREBOARDS, I broke the rest of the middle. The clue for STATEMOTTO is fascinating. For the record, the French one is from Minnesota, Spanish is Montana, Italian is Maryland, the Greek one is California ("Eureka!"), the Chinook is in Washington, and I couldn't figure out which one was in Hawaiian.

Just kidding! Turning over the reins to Horace for tomorrow.

- Colum


  1. Agree. Much easier than Friday. Sometimes a puzzle just flows... SCOTIA was a gimme for this Canuck (fingers crossed they come thru the Fiona onslaught OK) . Whenever there was doubt in this one, the crossers came to the rescue. Sub 7 min for me, quite rare for a Saturday..

  2. Smooth as silk and beautifully constructed. Loved it. Thanks for the week, Colum!