It's kind of a coincidence that today's puzzle is by Barry Silk. I had lunch with Barry just last weekend and the result of the conversation we had was that I would post a question to you guys. So here it is. We are in the preliminary (and I mean preliminary) stages of exploring the possibility of putting on a crossword puzzle tournament here in the D.C. area. The question is: Would you be interested in attending? If you haven't been to a tournament before, it's important for you to know that competition is by far the least important aspect of a puzzle tournament. The real point is to spend time with other puzzle people. So. Please let me know if you're in or near Washington, D.C., if you think you might be interested in attending. Feel free to mention it in the comments, or you can email me directly at puzzlegirl065 at gmail dot com.
Speaking of puzzle tournaments, I should remind everybody about Lollapuzzoola 3: The Great Pickle Giveaway. This super fun tournament, hosted by Ryan and Brian of "Ryan and Brian do Crosswords," will take place in New York on August 14 (that's a Saturday in August). I'll be there, Rex Parker will be there, many crossword luminaries (ha!) will be there. It's a rockin' good time and if you're anywhere close, you should come.
The puzzle. This was not my favorite Barry Silk effort. I was just annoyed by too many little things. Like having SHELL GAME (33D: Thimblerig cousin) in the grid and "Shell seeker" in a clue. Als, Thimblerig?? I'm not crazy about seeing both 22D: End of __ (AN ERA) and 2D: Box score stats (ERAS). Also, does the U.S. FLAG actually wave on the moon (47A: Waver on the moon)? I mean, there's no oxygen there, right? I enjoyed some of the longer answers. WINDCHILL FACTOR is awesome (36A: Heat index counterpart). Having grown up in North Dakota, it's something I'm very familiar with. EASY DOES IT is nice (60A: Caution to one getting too hot?), as is TREBLE CLEF (38A: Note-clarifying symbol) and BETTER OFF (10D: Making more money, say). And, oh my God, ROACH MOTEL (12D: Black Flag product). Gross and delightful at the same time. But too many little annoyances in the fill and the cluing overshadowed the awesomeness for me.
- 24A: Last, in much '60s baseball (TENTH). You can pretty much always count on some interesting baseball trivia in Barry's puzzles.
- 41A: Seltzer is often used after it (ALKA-). This is one example of the cluing that I'm not fond of.
- 49A: Where heros are made (DELI). I can never remember which kind of hero takes an E for the plural. I guess it's not the sandwich kind.
- 58A: Quebec export (MAPLE SYRUP). Mmmm … syrup.
- 25D: Greet with respect (BOW TO). I wish we bowed more. There's an Asian woman who runs a sandwich shop near my office where I often (like every day) go to grab lunch. She gives every customer a little bow after every transaction. I love it.
- 34D: Beats (TICKS). I had LICKS here for quite a while but, even though I'm not up on my 33A: Electric generator parts, SLATOR COIL really looked wrong.
- 47D: Pac-10 school (UCLA). All these athletic conference clues are going to be outdated pretty soon. I believe Colorado is joining the Pac-10 and Nebraska(?) is joining the Big Ten. Other Big Twelve schools are bailing as well, leaving Iowa State almost homeless. It'll be interesting to see how it all shakes out.
Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
- 11A: Dyne-centimeters (ERGS).
- 18A: River through Lake Thun (AARE).
- 29A: C-ration successor (MRE).
- 40A: Oklahoma native (OTO).
- 59A: Impersonator (APER).
- 51D: Bodkin holder (ÉTUI).
Everything Else — 1A: Shell seeker (HERMIT CRAB); 15A: Graphic designer's asset (TRAINED EYE); 16A: Strike (X OUT); 17A: Sinclair Lewis best-seller (MAIN STREET); 19A: Trip starter (LSD); 20A: Needle (PROD); 21A: Substance in the Nash poem "Reflection on Babies" (TALCUM); 23A: Stray (ROAM); 25A: Clarinet's home key, usually (B FLAT); 28A: Cable (WIRE); 33A: Electric generator parts (STATOR COIL); 39A: Grant (CEDE); 42A: Pin site (ALLEY); 43A: Rolls up (FURLS); 45A: Soprano Te Kanawa (KIRI); 50A: Marlowe's "The __ of Malta" (JEW); 53A: Stylish (CHIC); 54A: Improve (AMELIORATE); 57A: Traditional accounts (LORE); 1D: Online file suffix (HTML); 3D: Incursion (RAID); 4D: Short time? (MIN.); 5D: Where the crowd is (IN SPOT); 6D: Prefix with fluoride (TETRA); 7D: Jewel box contents (CD-ROM); 8D: Portland, Oregon, college (REED); 9D: Marine assent (AYE); 11D: Lionize (EXALT); 13D: Sikh leader (GURU); 14D: Stalk (STEM); 23D: Grammy category (R AND B); 24D: Spine line (TITLE); 26D: Dally (FLIRT); 27D: It's not safe to be in it (LINE OF FIRE); 28D: When doubled, an Evergreen State city (WALLA); 30D: __ la Plata (RIO DE); 31D: The king of Spain? (EL REY); 35D: Fourth-century date (CCCLI); 37D: Schumann's composer wife (CLARA); 42D: Melodic (ARIOSO); 44D: Stress consequence, perhaps (ULCER); 45D: First "Idol" winner Clarkson (KELLY); 46D: Admission of deceit (I LIED); 48D: Talking point at a business dinner? (SHOP); 49D: Passbook amts. (DEPS.); 50D: Shocks (JARS); 52D: Grieved (WEPT); 55D: Lea cry (MAA); 56D: 49-Across choice (RYE).