Bruce Haight’s Friday, 2/14/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

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February 14, 2014 by manvspuzzle

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Theme: Some lovey-dovey stuff.  The 2 15-letter answers act as a “mini theme” in honor of Valentine’s Day.

Theme Answers:

  • 36A — Phrase from Virgil appropriate for Valentine’s Day : LOVE CONQUERS ALL
  • 8D — Delivers a romantic Valentine’s Day surprise, maybe : POPS THE QUESTION

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What’s Good: The Long (8+) Answers.  The short stuff isn’t great, but the long stuff makes up for it.  I especially like the debut answers STAY COOL, READ A BOOK, LAKE POET, and ARMY CAMP.

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2 14 14

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Nice enough.  This mini-theme is a good way to give a little nod to Valentine’s Day without ruining everyone’s Friday.  Friday people want a difficult puzzle with no theme — that’s just the way it is.  But if you’re the editor, you basically *have to* at least acknowledge holidays and other special events when they occur.  So this is a great compromise.

Speaking of hard, I found the northeast to be just that.  I originally had FATTY for FATSO, and it wasn’t until I fixed that (which took a while) that I could see ENDLESSLY.  Then came ESSO, then STAY COOL.  But the very top of that section still remained impenetrable to me.  It all finally worked out, but I spent about half of my solve just messing around in that area.

Then there was the crossing of OPA and APO.  I had no idea about OPA, but in retrospect, I should have known APO — I’ve certainly seen it before.  But I guessed an ‘I’ instead of an ‘A’ and finished with a mistake.  Dang it!

Like I said above, the long stuff here made me happy, but I could have done without lots of the shorter stuff.  ITA, VSO, PONTE, APO, TUN, CRI — not my faves.  But all fairly crossed (except possibly APO, which I already discussed).

Good stuff.  Thanks, Bruce.

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