Saturday, February 11, 2023

Saturday, February 11, 2023, Sam Ezersky

No FWOEs today, but no record speeds, either. My time was 34:27, which is a so-so Saturday time for me. I had a lot of trouble with the northwest section, partly because I entered 'unFLAG' instead of EUFLAG at 23A, which effectively blocked EMCEE and SEOUL. The clue for the latter answer also prevented me from getting it, but that's another story. :) The tricky second "'Ah' follower" and the not-in-my-databank HODGES didn't help my situation. Upon review, some of the challenges were satisfyingly difficult and some were less so. 


C/APs I thought were clever and/or cleverly ambiguous include:
"Get in trouble, perhaps" for TELLON 
"Go back" (EBB)
"Train workers?" (MENTOR)
"Snickers alternative" (MRGOODBAR
"Pluto, famously" (PETDOG)
"Destinations for some retiring soldiers" (COTS)

On the other hand, APIPHOBIA is such an unlikely trait for a beekeeper that it's kind of moot, if you see what I mean. I also thought "What a motorist often screws up?" for GASCAP was a little off - especially the 'up' part, but I suppose they couldn't clue it with just "What a motorist often screws?" MIRY for "Like swampland" seemed like a stretch - not that it doesn't mean that, but according to Google's Ngram Viewer, 'miry' hit its heyday in 1856. I don't want to take my grousing too FARRO, but I wasn't super fond of SOFTARMOR or SIMP either. 

None of the three grid spanners did much for me (sports, dubious government agencies, and Marvel characters) but all of the above considered, IPRESUME I'm not the demographic for this particular puzzle.



  1. Sheesh. Back down to earth after Friday... I found this one to be a tough slog from start to finish. Tough but fair, without "gotcha" clues (intersecting obscure acronyms or the like). I did like 'APIPHOBIA', having thought time-wastingly hard about putting ALLERGIES in there. I didn't like SOFTARMOR either, or MIRY, and I too had UNFLAG in there for a while. As for Pluto, I had to get most of the crossers as I couldn't get PLANET out of my head. I didn't get why KARAT was KARAT. (Who's "Kay"?) And FARRO?? Oo-kay. 12:14 and I'm happy with that time :)

  2. A workout, but looking at the finished grid the entries all seem really clean. My big mistake was insisting on THE WORLD FACTBOOK instead of CIA. Philbo, the clue refers to Kay Jewelers which is big in the States. "Every kiss begins with Kay" :-)

    1. Ah!! It's a cross-border thing! As, I think was TOPPS, which (at least when I was a kid) was not a card collecting thing here in Canada. Instead, it was hockey cards and the vaguely racist-ly named O-PEE-CHEE.

  3. Boy, I jumped on APIPHOBIA and never looked back. This is a 16 x 15 grid, so extra large for a weekday puzzle. I too liked the twin "Ah" follower clues. However, I myself would never consider a MRGOODBAR a replacement or even a meaningful alternative to a Snickers. Nice hidden capital there. SLAYINGIT and VIBECHECK definitely lent a contemporary bias to the puzzle. Finished in 6:26.

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    2. Wow Colum! Speaking of SLAYINGIT.... :) :)