Another themeless from the Glutton. Solve here, then click on down the road.
Hi everyone! we have another 17×13 themeless this week, and I’d like to blame my performance on a horrible cold and other stuff, but this puzzle was a Did Not Finish with a capital, italic, underlined DNF for me. Things usually start slowly for me, with a short entry here and there…AMIS, TET, COTE, ATA, and KEN went in pretty quickly. Then, almost nothing. I made some headway in the SE corner with LAG, ULNA (which tripped me up initially until I remembered that humans have forearms but not forelegs, whereas fuzzy feline friends like Goomba here have forelegs), and SPEED.
Then there was a word here and there interspersed with a whole lot of nothing. Eventually I resorted to Googling, which I almost never have to do with Erik’s puzzles. Among the entries I looked up are ERIC ANDRE, ROSE ROYCE, LINDA RONSTADT, OLIVIER Rousteing, and Pau CASALS. I had Lyle Crocodile for the longest time instead of NILE crocodile, which caused a lot of trouble in that corner. Most of the puzzle was a slog for me, which detracted from its amazing longer entries. Now to purge the rest of the negativity, the partial AS YE [“___ sow, so…”] tripped me up, and has amazingly been used more times in the NYT in the Shortz era (19) than in the pre-Shortz era (14). Finally, O NAME [Olive or Oliver, e.g.]. If this were acceptable, it would open up 26 six-letter fill options, but ick. I’m guessing this entry is what Erik referred to in his recent tweet:
Now it’s time to return to our happy place. I absolutely love I NAILED IT, PAY TOILET clued as [Place with a going rate], all three central 15s, SAY IT TO MY FACE, and UTTER DISASTER. Both [“Sup, Maria”] for AVE and [The assent of Manuel?] for SÍ SÍ make me giggle. I appreciate the tribute to the recently departed David Bowie in the clue for METRE [“Something happened on the day he died/Spirit rose a ___ and stepped aside” (Bowie “Blackstar” lyric)]. Finally, the clue [Growing out your hair between cuts, maybe] for CONTINUITY ERROR is brilliant.
Overall, this puzzle has some real gems, but the frustration I encountered throughout made this a less than fun solve for me. Your mileage may vary, based on your music and pop culture knowledge. Until next week, my Heroes, my Diamond Dogs, and my Young Americans…