Freestyle 100 by Tim Croce

Let’s hitch up the Croce wagon and get solving!


Lena and Peter have been derelict in reviewing the Tim Croce freestyles so I, Lena’s occasionally referenced “boyfriend,” am stepping up to the plate to lend a hand.

This was Freestyle 100, although Tim didn’t do anything special to mark the occasion. He just churned out another fun, tricky puzzle. The man is seriously some kind of puzzbot.

Anyway, this one went pretty quickly for me as Croce puzzles go. I didn’t time it, but I did it in less than an afternoon without cheating (AHEM, research*) so I’m going to say this was at the easier end of the Croce spectrum. Not the Croce-est of puzzles, but most of the hallmarks are here: fun, conversational marquees (vertical this time) with SNAP TO ATTENTION and ARE YOU SATISFIED, some dense center stacks, and some very devious clues e.g. IN TWO for 47A [Rent, maybe].

*Lena tells me that asking friends doesn’t count as cheating, so just as well I had to ask her for help with ALABAMA SHAKES (33A) [Band that earned a Grammy in 2016 for “I Don’t Wanna Fight”] and ICI ET LA (53A) [In various places, in Vichy].

One thing I tend to like about Tim’s puzzles is his penchant for saving less-than-savory fill with great clues. And I’m going to admit, this one did not deliver as strongly as some others. Although we do have some highlights in 2D [Number that sounds exasperating when spelled out] for III, and 19A [Sweater in November, maybe?] for POL. And while ORR, ORE, and TSA are given a slightly more obscure trivia-treatment than usual, they’re nothing special. I did personally like the hemisphere-driven quasi-misdirecting 39D [Spring equinox time for some] for SEP though.

Personal favorites are: the opening salvo of PISS OFF (1A) [Anger], the gender-balancing STAY AT HOME DAD, and BOWL-A-THONS (8D) as [ball events].

I was not a fan of HAP for [Out-of-the-blue occurrence] (shouldn’t there be an abreve indicator, or ?), or PDA for [Open bussing, say] (is that a computer thing? Make-outs? I seriously have no idea).

Overall, a nice, fairly approachable Croce – but maybe I’m just saying that because I was able to finish it…


1 comment
  1. e.a. said:

    wonderfully written review! and [Open bussing] = definitely makeouts.


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