XW Info

Friday, April 4, 2014
by Martin Ashwood-Smith and Joe Krozel
Fri 4/4/2014
© 2014, The New York Times
Jeff Chen notes: Oh man, it's so cool that two of the quad-stack masters joined forces on this one! I personally love collaborating with other constructors, so I can only imagine the awesome back-and-forths MAS and Joe must have had. (Please tell me there were some tickle fights?) In particular, I really enjoyed hearing about one constructor taking an unpaired quad-stack and matching it up with another's. A true peanut-butter and chocolate moment.

Quad-stacks by nature tend to require common letters (RSTLN E), so it's important to choose the entries with those letters that happen to be snappy. (At least so I'm told, since I've never successfully completed one quad-stack, much less two.) I loved getting AM I GLAD TO SEE YOU, an entry I would be happy to encounter in any themeless, much less a quad-stack. What with SACRIFICIAL LAMB on top of it, that bottom section was a mighty treat.

I liked the top one as well, although I didn't know ADELAIDE'S LAMENT so wasn't able to appreciate it as much. After looking it up (it's a Guys and Dolls song), I was happy to have listened to it. Catchy!

Inevitable to get some less-than-optimal crossing answers in a quad-stack. I did love seeing the longer ones like EXORCIST and SCARLET A (much, much better than the usual RED A we usually see in crosswords) and I DIG IT. But not may solvers will like a TENTER or an arbitrary TEN HOURS or SMOOT in their puzzle. I personally am very interested in the SMOOT-Hawley tariff's effect in intensifying the Great Depression, but we've already established that I'm strange.

It surprises me to hear every once in a while that a solver will enjoy the likes of ENCE or STER. I would prefer not to see those types of crossword glue, but some solvers breathe a sigh of relief because just one answer like this can help them grab a toehold in a puzzle. Go figure!

I really appreciate MAS and Joe working hard to put together a puzzle which connects well in the center, something very important to keep it from feeling like two completely separate mini-puzzles. Not only are there plenty of connection points, but SNEER AT and GUESS SO make for some very nice junctions in the middle of the grid.

I wouldn't want every themeless to be a quad-stack because of their unique qualities (I'm looking at you, ENCE and STER), but I sure enjoy getting them every once in a while. A final note, my favorite answer in the puzzle? SLUG IT OUT. What a snappy phrase, and so impressive how it runs straight through that top stack.

1.Romania and Bulgaria, once : SATELLITESTATES
16.Frank Loesser show tune : ADELAIDESLAMENT
17.It might cover an oil spill : MARINEINSURANCE
18.Doing the rounds? : SINGINGTOGETHER
19.Sporting goods chain with the slogan "Get outside yourself" : REI
20.Potsdam pronoun : SIE
21.Peculiar: Prefix : IDIO
22.Start-up helper: Abbr. : SBA
24.Pace at Pompano Park : TROT
26.Shoving matches? : SUMO
29.Relative of une tulipe : LIS
31."Frasier" role : ROZ
33.Match cry : RAH
34.Pooh-pooh : SNEERAT
38."You're probably right" : GUESSSO
40.Mojo : HEX
41.Sister co. of Virgin : EMI
42.Middle square, maybe : TAC
43.Sea of ___ (view from Crimea's eastern coast) : AZOV
45.Chart, in Cádiz : MAPA
48.Sol mates? : LAS
50.Frost-covered : RIMY
52.Crook's place : ARM
54.Many activists' concerns: Abbr. : RTS
56.One given up for good? : SACRIFICIALLAMB
61."What a sight for sore eyes!" : AMIGLADTOSEEYOU
62.Its islands are not surrounded by water : GASOLINESTATION
1.Some defensive weapons, in brief : SAMS
2."Love and Death on Long Island" novelist Gilbert : ADAIR
3.Lead-tin alloys : TERNES
4.Unmarried, say : ELIGIBLE
5.Activist Guinier : LANI
6.Some claims : LIENS
7."Cool, dude" : IDIGIT
8.Many a backpacker, at night : TENTER
9.62-Across option north of the border : ESSO
10.Go a couple of rounds : SLUGITOUT
11.Preweighed, in a way : TARED
12.Very rarely heard instruments : AMATIS
13.Long shift, perhaps : TENHOURS
14.Ending to prefer? : ENCE
15.Young or old follower : STER
23.Rich person's suffix? : AIRE
25.Alternative to .net : ORG
27.Rural parents : MAS
28.Cry of pleased surprise : OHO
30.Songwriters Hall of Fame member who wrote "April Love" : SAMMYFAIN
32.Get-up-and-go : ZEAL
34.Doo-wop syllable : SHA
35.Body part detecting odeurs : NEZ
36.One getting rid of possessions? : EXORCIST
37."Third Watch" actress Texada : TIA
39.Hester Prynne wore one : SCARLETA
44.Labor Day arrivals, e.g. : VIRGOS
46.Conf. whose membership increased by two in 2011 : PACTEN
47.Melodic : ARIOSE
49.Not leave the house : STAYIN
51.Prefix with second : MILLI
53.Sticks in the brig? : MASTS
55.Utah senator who co-sponsored a tariff act : SMOOT
56.Potential serial material : SAGA
57."___ in Full" (Tom Wolfe novel) : AMAN
58.Security figure: Abbr. : IDNO
59.Abrupt transition : LEAP
60.Some picnic supplies : BUNS

© 2017, Jim Horne