Thursday, January 25, 2024

Friday,. January 26 2024, Sarah Sinclair and Rafael Musa

Happy Friday, y'all!  I look forward to the NYT crossword every Friday for its diabolical challenge, often even more daunting than Saturday's, especially of late.  Today's offering I found a bit on the gentle side.  I got off to a good start in the NE corner, remembering that ITSIN precedes "...his kiss", and, although it seemed too obvious at first, "Everybody's opposite" is NOONE.  A slight stall with DETER instead of DEFER for "Put off" (hey, it makes just as much sense), but because of the SOFTLAUNCH crosser, that was quickly resolved.  

Over in the NW, I was tempted to enter BRILLIANT for "'That's genius!'", but it was a GREATIDEA not to, as that would have caused major confusion. Right above it was one of my faves in the grid - PUSHOVERS, who often cave but do not spelunk.  And another clever QMC crossed it - "Starts off-key?", which, when revealed to be HOTWIRES, was a nice little 'aha' moment. Rounding out the punniness, the capital F in "Show of Force" hints at its answer (STARWARS).

In the middle, I thought "Canine protector" might be something like MUZZLE, but ENAMEL fit the bill.  Weird that SETTEES ("Couches") makes an appearance - that word randomly popped into my head today, as such an old-fashioned way to refer to a sofa.  "Foe-run land?" (ENEMYTURF) was a groaner.

On to the bottom - no problems there, except I guessed wrong on "'The Bachelor' outing" - BLINDDATE instead of GROUPDATE.  Who knew?  Not I, not ever.  I liked the double use of the clue "Not natural, in a way" (POSED and DYED), though they were not adjacent in the grid.  And finally, the Rubik's Cube, once a FAD but forever a marvel of topological engineering.  I still have mine from high school.

Nice puzzle.  Nice consistency of difficulty throughout.  

Have a great day everybody!  See you back here tomorrow.


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