July 14, 2005

Friday BEQ (s-p-o-i-l-e-r-s a-h-e-a-d)

Another meaty challenge from Brendan Emmett Quigley for the Friday NYT. I don't know how a constructor manages to create three triple-stacked sets of 15-letter entries, I just don't. But I'm glad BEQ did. Some of the 15s were gimmes (or nearly so): NOTSOLDINSTORES, LANDOCALRISSIAN. If 17A had been clued as a punk song rather than rock, I probably would have gotten it with IW; instead, I had to wait until the crossings pushed me toward IWANNAB...

A special Baltic shout-out for 21A being BALT rather than LETT (which I'm sure a lot of people quickly jotted in those squares). I'm one eighth Lithuanian and not at all Latvian, so I always like the more general Baltic entries. (Has LITHUANIA or VILNIUS ever made a showing?)

I commend the OOOU run in 58A, ITSAZOOOUTTHERE. Yooou don't see that every day! THEUN for "country club?" took too long for me to make sense of (I couldn't get the rodeo out of my head). It's nice to see the UN make it into the grid, rather than being part of the clue for DAG or something.

Anyone else sit there trying to remember what the root beer brand was? "Let's see...A&E? No. A&S? A&F? A&H? A&M?" The crossing with CREW (clued as "hands") was really not helpful to me, as I didn't know skater ORSER—I think CREW was one of the last words I filled in.

"Mug with a mug" for TOBY was easier (though by no means easy) because TOBY was in another puzzle recently and came up for discussion at the NYT forum. Trivial knowledge reinforced by repetition—boring and pointless to many, I'm sure, but a boon to anyone trying to move up the ranks at the next ACPT. (Not that I read all the lengthier discussions of golf, wine, scotch, bridge, poetry, Hebrew, the classics, or music. Gimme some etymology or hash out punctuation and English usage, though, and I'm all yours.)