Thursday, July 19, 2007

Friday, July 20 - Barry C. Silk

It's been awhile (42D: For some time) since I struggled this much with a puzzle...but it is Friday.

By the way, the completed grid will appear at the bottom of the post. At least one reader preferred to have just a few hints, rather than being bombarded with the completed grid. I used to just try to squint so that I didn't see the whole thing, but that tends to be difficult. Bottom line...I think Andy had a good point, and I'm happy to oblige (3D: Require).

I ended up with about 3/4 of the puzzle finished, but the lower left quadrant was looking pretty blank. For several reasons.

When I (finally!) realized that 38A: Minor leader? was Ursa, rather than Asia, I was able to guess 31D: Black-and-white (squad car). I then entered a U as the second letter of 36A...who wouldn't have? I was pretty sure that 32D: Spent from all the conflict was war weary, but that meant the U was wrong. I Googled to confirm 50A: 200 milligrams (carat), which helped that corner finally come together. It became obvious that 56A: Name on a truck was Ryder, not Tonka.

So...back to 36A, clued as Period to find out more. The answer was Q and A, but when you're reading it as Qanda, it makes zero sense. And it didn't make sense until I was starting to blog.

There was so much to love in this puzzle. It has everything a great Friday themeless puzzle should have...stacks of 8- and 9-letter answers, vertically and horizontally.

First, the upper left horizontal stacks:

1A: Positive (above zero). Good one.

15A: Like some fruit bats and petrels (tubenosed). Petrels are about the silliest looking creatures I've ever seen. Take a look for yourself.

17A: Whine (bellyache). I love it. That was a word my father used when I was growing it makes me smile.

In the upper right quadrant, I got tripped up by 12D: Cousin of a hyena (aardwolf). I have never heard that word in my life. 13D: Be what you're not (live a lie) was good, but I absolutely loved 14D: Be a night watchman? (star gaze). That was a gimme only because I had 30A: Start of a Spanish Christmas greeting (Feliz).

The only thing left to say about the dreaded lower left quadrant is that I could really relate to war weary. Life with two teenaged girls has left me bloody and beaten, and our nest wasn't empty nearly long of them is coming back. Don't know what she's thinking, but Don and I are certain it's very temporary!

And I saved the best for last. The horizontals in the bottom right corner are:

51A: Popular reference work (Wikipedia). I reference it almost every day in this blog, but I've never once seen the home page.

55A: "Shoot!" (darn it all)...a more mild expression than I would typically use.

57A: Loser in a casino (snake eyes). One of the best answers in the puzzle.

And my very first gimme in the puzzle appeared in that very corner. 46D: __ Waitz, nine-time New York City Marathon winner (Grete). I was big into running when she first came on the scene, and I was pretty impressed with what she could do. Not that I ever came close.

The award for the most clever clue goes to 23A: Top of a stadium (jersey). I was thinking of words for the apex of the stadium...not the tops that the players would wear.

We just had Opie yesterday, and it appears again today at 49D, clued as Artist John, known as the Cornish Wonder. Yesterday, several of you were baffled by efs (affluent duo?). I hope you didn't fall for today's similar clue/answer. 28D: Couple of pizzas? (zees).

I didn't know 40D: What ochlophobists fear (crowds), but it was easy to guess when I had most of the letters in place.

I don't get 30D: Work unit: Abbr. (FTLB). Full time...what's the rest? [Just read at Diary of a Crossword stands for foot-pound, just like it looks. Have never heard of it.]

That's it for tonight. See you tomorrow.

Linda G


jlsnyc said...

and for me, it was that se that was the last to go. had "greta" for far too long for one thing.

love the "petrel" link -- also the notice at the top that reminds us the flammable liquid that goes in the car is "petrol"...

tgif -- and thx for the fine bloggin' in both its incarnations this week!



Anonymous said...

My goodness. That was probably the most difficult Friday puzzle in a LONG while. I was practically stumped (besides Grete Waitz - which I initially spelled incorrectly as Greta). Anyway, a few hints from you, and I once again felt semi-competent. Thanks for putting the answers on the bottom. The journey was arduous and fun....
Andy G

Linda G said...

Arduous, yes...

Putting the grid at the bottom did something weird to my spacing. You can see it if you compare today's with yesterday's. It's tough for us OCD folks to deal with, but I'll try ; )

DONALD said...

Select "none" for margin of the image on the import image page.

Fine blog today!

DONALD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rock rabbit said...

Wahoo! I got completely stumped by EFS yesterday, but pounced on ZEES today! Thanks for putting the grid at the bottom and thanks for yet another great write-up. SKOAL!