March 28, 2014 by manvspuzzle
Mini-Theme: SOMALI PIRATES crossing CAPTAIN PHILLIPS right there in the center. No real reason other than your personal enjoyment.
Something Good: The 7+-Letter Answers. There are just 12 of these bad boys, but they cover 134 letters. That’s roughly 68% of the puzzle, which means not only are they going to stand out, but they’re basically holding everything together. So they have to be *functional,* but they also should be *good*. Besides SPRYEST (which is totally fine and gettable, just kinda blah), everything 7-letters or longer is good, fresh and fun. Super-fresh, actually — mostly brand-new to the puzzle. Daddy likes.
I had fun with this one. My only real cringing came at the whole ETAS/ARR/EST thing. I dunno. Each one is ok taken on its own, but for this solver the repetition and cross-referencing only served to highlight some boring answers. It’s perfectly normal to have this sort of thing happen one time in a puzzle; twice made me fixate on it and get a little complainy.
Other than that, for reals, this puzzle was great. I like stacks of 15, I like answers I haven’t seen before, and I like fill that no one has to argue about. This puzzle has all of that. The CAPTAIN PHILLIPS / SOMALI PIRATES thing is nice, though seemingly arbitrary. I think running this on some anniversary related to that event (or something) and cluing it appropriately would give the whole thing a little more meaning.
Difficulty level good (average for me, if not a little easy). Clues all makes sense to me, I think. During my solve I couldn’t see GEESE being “Simple sorts” (50D), but the whole “silly goose” concept helped it all make sense.
Decent Friday that worked for me. How about you?