Saturday, December 9, 2023

Saturday, December 9, 2023, Doug Peterson and Christina Iverson

I realized this morning that this will be my final puzzle review of 2023. Time has a way of going by, and there seems to be little that we can do about it. Being mindful of each moment helps though. 

I opened today's puzzle with 2D: "The Nutcracker" role. But would it be the German or the English spelling? I tried the former but replaced it quickly enough with the more standard CLARA. 1A reminds me of the old Beatles song, sung by Ringo, "Act Naturally." 15A was a gimme, and the northeast corner was done. CANCONFIRM is a great answer.

I couldn't easily exit the corner, however. Part of the problem was putting in RECroom rather than RECHALL at 21D. So I got started again in the SW, where 48D: Fictional Dr. Jones, familiarly (INDY) could only be one thing. 30D: Did some shallow breathing? (SNORKELED) is a great clue, and I love the word KOWTOWING. I don't know about BATPOLE. This is really only a thing in the campy 1960s television show. 

I'd never heard of NOTTODAYSATAN, so I had to leave the last word blank, and work my way back to it from the SE. Entry here was not hard with TOBEY and SERAPH. WHYNOTBOTH is a lovely colloquialism. I've always thought that the phrase "Have your cake and eat it too" is misparsed. It should really be "Eat your cake, and keep it afterwards." But that doesn't have the same ring.

Speaking of parsing, there's a nice pair of answers to "Break down, in a way" with ROT and PARSE

At this point, I corrected my mistake at 21D, and finished up in the NE, which was by far the most challenging area for me. DUCKEGG makes sense now, but I had no idea what they meant by "Shell-inspired." I was stuck on abalone or some other such thing. 11A: This and that (STEW) is a wide open clue. And the definite article at the beginning of THEAPEMAN threw me as well. "Chimpman?" "Gorillaman?" Eventually EMBIGGENS saved me, and the puzzle was done.

Horace takes over tomorrow. Hope you enjoyed this week of puzzling as much as I did! Happy holidays to everybody.

- Colum

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