Friday, February 16, 2024

Friday, February 16, 2024, Colin Adams

Friday it may be, but I solved the puzzle in a zippy (for me) 20 minutes, even with a long struggle in the middle east - what else is new. Too soon? I digress. The knot of unknown or uncertain answers in that section slowed me way down. The center of the knot was the "European airline that was nationalized form 1944 to 2001." Now that I know the answer (IBERIA), I think I would have gotten it faster if I focused more on the date range in the clue rather than on the grid itself. I just kept thinking I'd recognize the name of the airline once I got some letters from other answers, instead of spending the time thinking about the specifics of the clue. Derp. Also, I guessed argON for the noble gas used in propelling ion thrusters, instead of the correct XENON, which did not help matters. And, while I was pretty sure the Cowboy Bill in question was PECOS, I was a bit at sea about the eldest daughter of Oceanus and the mother of Nike (STYX). I thought I knew MESSYBUN for "Casually chic updo" but the uncertainty in that section was causing me to repeatedly tear my hair out, and then put it back in. I was also duped by the clue "Hands and feet" - thinking only of extremities. The correct answer, UNITS, took me pleasantly by surprise and gave me a leg up. THEN, finally, a successful guess of ITINA for the "1986 rock autobiography" enabled me to correct my errors and complete the puzzle. 


Some NICEWORK on the QMCs today. I thought "God on a mission?" for APOLLO,  "Northern hemisphere?" for IGLOO, "Stand-up person?" for NOSHOW, and "Time to draw?" for NOON were all strong. In the non-QMC category, my favorite was "Bacon bits" for ESSAYS - ha!

There was some good long fill in the grid, too, like INNERDEMONS, HIGHWAYHYPNOSIS, DONTTEMPTME, and the delicious FOODCOMA

The one SOURNOTE for me was the C/AP ARENTI for "Coy response to a compliment." I must be missing something here because I can't think of compliment that would engender that response. Anyone? 



  1. I too guessed ARGON instead of XENON. I guess XENON works better as a propellant because it's heavier. I feel compelled to point out that up here in Canada, nobody says ICESKATE. It's just SKATE. Agree on IGLOO - that was a fun one!

  2. Beautiful puzzle. I'm with you, Frannie, on the clue for AREN'T I. Doesn't seem very coy to me!

  3. Whew, this was a zippy solve indeed. A sub-6 minute Friday is unusual. But fun and zingy phrases which were quickly recognizable helped, like INNERDEMONS and FOODCOMA. I get what they're going for with ARENTI, but it doesn't quite land.

    1. You'll have to give me an example next time we get together, Colum.

    2. I hear you - this was 4:54 for me (came back down to earth with a resounding thud on Saturday). Here, how about this: "Oh, you're so clever, Frannie!" "Aren't I?" Does that kinda work?