March 14, 2014 by manvspuzzle
Something Good: The 15s. They’re the main attraction here, including a nice stack down the middle. All of them are good. And no “___ one’s ___” phrase? Most impressive. Fun, too.
I had a great time with this puzzle. It’s no secret that, as a solver, I really like triple- (or quad-) stacks of 15s, almost at any cost. But I truly think these are beautiful. And the intersecting nature of *all* the 15s in the grid is just pretty. The grid itself, all around, is pleasure-inducing from an aesthetic perspective.
But the most fun for me came in my personal solving experience. Have you ever had the experience of totally failing on a puzzle right before bed, sleeping, and then waking up and feeling like your brain is in a totally different place? Like you’ve suddenly become a master solver overnight? That’s what happened to me here. I spent like 30 minutes late last night filling in maybe 25 answers (hey, I’m no speed solver) before my lights went out. I was totally stumped on everything I had left blank. 7 hours later I rolled over, grabbed the puzzle, and the remaining answers fell into place in about 5 minutes. Nice feeling.
As is the case with most puzzles featuring stacks or intersecting 15s, there were some compromises here. First there are many 3-letter answers. But I have to commend Alan though for not making them too crazy. I IN and ME A will never be anyone’s favorite 3-letter partials, and SML is a pretty weird stretch. MDL, today’s Roman numeral — well, it’s about as exciting as any Roman numeral you’ve ever seen in a puzzle. But the other 20 I have no issues with. That’s a fine ratio for the tradeoff in my book.
Other than that, the abbreviation ITAL and the very made-up feeling GOT A B made me sort of cringe. Gettable, of course. Presented fairly, yes. Pretty? No.
Still, lots of fun to be had today. KARL had me going for a long time (28D — Jazz player Malone), as did YER (54A — The shorter you are?). That’s about as fun as YER will ever get. Great job.
So, happy solver here today. My kind of puzzle. Thanks, Alan and Will.