Rough loosely woven fabric / SAT 3-26-16 / Mechanism for making things disappear in 1984 / Calligrapher's grinding mortar / Irish revolutionary Robert / Jimbo's sidekick on South Park / 458 488 on road / Fictional dog owned by Winslow family / Yellow-flowered primrose / Drug company founder of 1876 / Clusters of mountains / Fraternal patriotic org / Crooner with 1978 album You Light Up My Life
Saturday, March 26, 2016
Constructor: Damon Gulczynski
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: RATINÉ (28A: Rough, loosely woven fabric) —
A loosely woven fabric with a rough nubby texture. (thefreedictionary.com)
• • •
Fastest Saturday in a long, time. Under 8, and I stopped to take screen grabs, so ... yeah. Cake. The problem with lower word counts is, you're always gonna pay for it somewhere (well, mortals are, anyway), and today it felt like the price was a bit too high (word count: 64). There are a few great answers—MOM JEANS and MEMORY HOLE (34A: Mechanism for making things disappear in "1984") and TOTAL IDIOT (20A: Big dip)—but you get into some of those nooks and crannies and it gets pretty jarring. I was having a pleasant enough time at first. I saw straight through the "?" clue at 1A: Produces heat? (DRAWS), guessed the answers correctly, tested it on the "D" and guessed DRIFT (1D: Sight after a blizzard), and it all came together quickly. In less than 30 seconds, I was here:
Once I hit yet another French-derived nutso word (RATINÉ!?) and the never-welcome author abbrev. EAPOE, I got worried again. Then the TSETSES showed up and I was beginning to think this was SATAN'S own puzzle. Now, to be fair, there's a lot of meat to this puzzle, average words doing average things. But it fizzles out in a particularly, strangely weak SE corner and ... well, that's that. From a speed-solving, tournament warm-up perspective, I guess I'm elated. But the bumps were just a little too bumpy for me today—again, not unexpected when the puzzle plummets to sub-68 depths.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. I was looking for the Rickie Lee Jones song where she actually sings "E.A. POE" ("Traces of the Western Slopes," off of the immaculate "Pirates" album). But then I found this and just watched it on repeat like 30 times.
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