Barry Silk's Friday puzzle has it all...pop culture, sports, history, geography, math. It's a pangram that's chock full of Scrabbly letters and multiple word answers.
It's also one of the toughest Friday puzzles I've done.
If I had to pick a favorite feature in this puzzle, it would be the multiple Z words.
31A: Pro sports team that moved from New Orleans in 1979 (Utah Jazz), crossing with 21D: Approach to arithmetic that emphasizes underlying ideas rather than exact calculations (fuzzy math). That also crosses with 28A: Curl tightly (frizzle).
And that's not all...other Z crosses are at 7D: Authenticate, in a way (notarize) and 8D: Tiger's-eye, essentially (quartz).
Multiple word entries include 1A: Visits (stops in), 8A: French sentry's cry (qui vive), 15A: Enter quickly (hop into), and 17A: "Again..." (I repeat)...one of only a few gimmes in the entire grid. Also 2D: Not removed delicately (torn out), 3D: Porthole view (open sea) and 36D: "Go easy, please" (be gentle).
Something about seeing moneybags in the center of the grid (35A: Fat cat) was entertaining. Maybe I'm just getting punchy. Lack of sleep can do that to me.
Some of my favorite clues and answers:
40A: Concavo-convex lens (meniscus).
45A: If it's regular, eacha of its angles is 144 degrees (decagon).
47A: "Notorious" film studio (RKO). Also for "Citizen Kane."
50A: Grandparent, frequently (doter). That'll be me a year from now.
56A: Outerwear fabric (Gortex). I had a complete brain lapse on this one...until I got the X in place from 46D: Blarneyed (coaxed).
58A: Ding Dong alternative (Twinkie). Another gimme. Although I swear I have never eaten a Twinkie in my life. I think I may have had a bite once, but I couldn't eat the whole thing. A Ding Dong...maybe. That's chocolate, right? I'll eat almost anything chocolate.
60A: Umm al-Quwain, for one (Emirate). Several different clues appear for this answer, but it's getting easier to spot them.
Two consecutive gimmes in the northeast. 13D: 1974 Best Actress nominee Perrine (Valerie)...although I couldn't tell you what she was in...and 14D: Champs __ (Élysées).
1D: Type of massage (Shiatsu). That's a type of finger pressure massage...not what I get, but I was familiar with the word.
Once I had the J from Utah Jazz (yep...a sports clue and I got it), it was easy to guess 28D: Greenland's Scoresby Sound is the world's longest (fjord). I mean, how many words have J as the second letter? Please don't count them and tell me...that wasn't really a question.
Because I'm geographically impaired, I wouldn't know 42D: Locale of the Carpathian Mountains, in part. Fortunately, I had the K (from RKO), and it was so very easy to (correctly) guess Ukraine.
It's been a long week, and I'm looking forward to the weekend. We'll be nailing down the reception site and the caterer on Saturday. It's hard to believe that that needs to be done almost a year in advance, but several places are booked for all of 2008.
Two weeks from tomorrow we'll be Hawaii bound. Guest bloggers are in place to keep the Madness going, although I could still use someone for the two Tuesdays (September 25 and October 2). It's easy and it's fun. Let me know via the comments section if you're interested in either or both of those dates.
Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.