Saturday, March 4, 2023

Saturday, March 4, 2023, Ryan McCarty

Today's puzzle required - or at least suggested - that it might be a good idea if Horace and Frannie joined forces. While there were a few I could get right off the clue (OED, PER, RINGCACTI, PAGODA), after 20 minutes or so, my grid remained sparsely populated. Apparently, Horace was ANNA similar situation. Rather than cry UNCLE, we decided to trade a few answers - each had some the other didn't. Turns out, that was just the CRYPTEX we needed. We then went back to our respective grids and each finished as a SOLOARTIST

The principal stumbling blocks I encountered were concentrated in the northwest, starting with the very uninformative and uninspiring "___ place" (ONES) - is that an example of CLASSISM? - and closely followed by NCAAFINAL (apparently not 'finalfour', which fit count-wise, if not clue-wise) and the phrase "ONHIRE" which I've never heard before (I had ONcall in there for a time) - not to mention "Ancestral spirit in Pueblo mythology" (KACHINA). The clues "Neighbor of Senegal" (GUINEABISSAU), "Abrogate" for UNDO, and the clever and (slightly risqué :) "French open activity, for short?" (PDA) in the next section didn't help matters.

While the above played MAJORROLES in generating ERRORMESSAGEs during the solve, there were, of course, some fine C/APs that ISLES single out here:
"A good word for giving?" (UNCLE) - ha!
"Go to the next line, perhaps" (PRESSENTER) - tricky
"Street wear?" (RUT) - heh
And my favorite, "Was, at one time" (USEDTOBE)

I also enjoyed (in a way) the quote from Hume that AVARICE is "the spur of industry." JETSETTERS, PASTRAMI, CRYONIC, and BENTOBOX are fine fill. And nobody doesn't like SARALEE. :)


I didn't really feel the aptness of "Quick-tempered sorts" for SPITFIRES, so I looked it up on the World Wide Web. I was surprised to find the definitions given were almost identical to the puzzle clue, but I did feel somewhat vindicated by the Merriam Webster page which included examples of the word in use automatically pulled (rather than chosen) from other web pages where the connotation was more along the lines of energetic and feisty than quick-tempered. Also, I had no idea this word was especially associated with females. Learn something new every day. Which reminds me, why is "Leading position" VAN at 42A?

Anyhoo, as I think we agree, all's fair in Friday and Saturday puzzles, so I'm not complaining, but this was another toughie in a string of recent Friday & Saturday toughies for this solver. I didn't finish last Saturday's puzzle until Thursday. :( My performance in recent week-end puzzle has exposed so many GAPS in my knowledge. It does not bode well for the upcoming ACPT. 

On the upside for you, dear Readers, I pass the review torch to a better qualified and speedier solver - and possibly earlier-poster - tomorrow. SIA next time.



  1. Yes. Yes indeed, boding ill for the ACPT. I did get this done, and it was 11:43, but there was a certain amount of guesswork involved. KACHINA, for example. ENCANTO. (And those guys cross!!) GUINEABISSAU. SONJA Morgan? Ooo..kay. On an ominous note, ZONKING was reminiscent of the one of the errors I made last year in the ACPT ("Drop from exhaustion, with 'out'" - I put in CONK not ZONK and that cost me probably 40 places).

    VAN is a crossword-ism, you're "in the VAN" if you're out in front. I think my favourite one was PDA - very clever indeed!!

    Have a good weekend all - Toronto got dumped with a full foot of wet snow overnight so we're kinda socked in. Gotta go - the shovel beckons.......

  2. Whew, tough one! Amazing clues. Sorry about the snow, in the BAY STATE, at least the Boston part, we seem to have squeaked by. Thanks for the week, Frannie!