David J. Kahn’s Friday, 3/28/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)


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.

3 28 14

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?

5 thoughts on “David J. Kahn’s Friday, 3/28/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

  1. tom pepper says:

    I’m a beginner on Fri/Sat puzzles. Have successfully completed maybe a dozen. Got hung up in two places with locking in Snare for SETUP and Byjove for BLIMEY, so ended up hitting reveal (i.e., cheating) on those two and then finished the rest. It’s all very gettable if you work at it. The pirate mini-theme was nice and made it easier.

    And I love Calder’s mobiles. A few years ago, I got on a kick of making small-scale mobiles. It’s like solving a math problem, and it’s beautiful when you get to the solution.

    I liked the puzzle. Had a good feeling about it when I was done.

  2. Z says:

    Pretty easy Friday, although I did my best to make it harder for myself. Tossing in aEsop with barely a thought meant I finished the south first. I did the same with AftA before ATRA, but I had enough already in that it was merely a slight stubbing of my toe. Any puzzle that recalls the image of BARDOT’s neckline can’t be all bad.

    One hears lots of love for Meta puzzles, but rarely anything positive about MEHTA puzzles. Why is that?

  3. Captain Phillips sure crossed those Somali Pirates in the Academy Award nominated Tom Hanks movie, too. And vice versa. Over at another blog, Zubin Mehta was described as an obscurity. I sure hope that’s a minority opinion.

    I’ve been telling my friends about the man vs. puzzle blog, and think that you are well on the way of building up a regular following of readers and commentators.

  4. manvspuzzle says:

    I’d also like to point out that this is the 2nd Vermont-related puzzle in a row (yesterday’s constructor is a Vermonter, and so is CAPTAIN PHILLIPS).

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