Friday the 13th Crossword (Syndicated 05/13/16 — NYTimes No. 0408 [originally published Friday 04/08/16])
Ok, so first a couple things — obviously this is not today’s crossword in The New York Times. I solve the syndicated puzzle, which lags five weeks for the Mon-Sat puzzles. Mine comes from The Sacramento Bee (I live in Sacramento, CA). So although I identify in the title this puzzle as a Friday the 13th puzzle (today being Friday, May 13), clearly this crossword did not first appear on Friday the 13th. However, just as clear, the puzzle maker (Patrick Berry) and editor (Will Shortz — a saint), are aware of the syndication of their puzzles, and sensitive to the five weeks lag. They knew this crossword puzzle would appear in my local fishwrap on Friday the 13th, and accordingly created/published a puzzle appropriate for the day. Let me ‘splain.
Not in the order I answered them, I discovered the following answers appropriate to Friday the 13th (if you find more, please comment below): 1A: BADDAY (Blue period?); 15A: NAUSEA (Sartre’s first novel); 17A: ANGER (Tee off); 20A: MEH (Scoring low on the excite-o-meter); 40A: DARK (Macabre); 46A: DIE (Rolled item). Pretty fun, I say.
I started in the SW, and fully solved the quadrant pretty readily. I first saw 37D: iPHONE (FaceTime device) and 36A: AIR (Service station offering). I liked seeing 51A: FORTERIE (Ontario town across from Buffalo), as it is a back-reference to one of this week’s earlier puzzles. I love that.
I got lucky and was able to work off the SW to answer one of the long vertical center clues at 18D: SPANISHMAIN (Setting of many pirate stories). I also made my first mistake in incorrectly guessing the name “Ashton” for 39A: ASHMAN (“Beauty and the Beast” lyricist Howard), this error got corrected very late (actually last), and caused me problems with the other long center vertical clues.
I then went to the NE where I answered: 7D: LENA (Horne of “The Lady and Her Music” — love Lena Horne!); 8D: AAH (“I can finally relax!”), I was a little concerned it might have been “ahh,” but turns out I guessed right; 28A: SHE (“___ Will Be Loved” (Maroon 5 hit)), a total guess, I don’t really know Maroon 5; 11D: ASSUCH (“This being the case… “), a stretch, as I was working solely from the “H” in “she”; and 7A: LAPCAT (Pet that needs a sitter?), I was pretty proud of myself on this one, since I would have said “lap dog” had I not first answered “as such.” Then I was stuck, and ventured into the SE.
There I only got two: 53D: FAX (Listing on a Rolodex); and 57A: XRATED (Dirty). Then I made my second mistake of the day at 46A: DIE (Rolled item), which I misanswered “Oat.”
Being stuck again, I went to the NW. There I got: 1A: BADDAY (Blue period?); and 1D: BONAMI (“Hasn’t scratched yet!” product), you don’t know how I wanted to answer “Borax” and kept wishing borax had two R’s.
I was finally forced into the center, where I promptly misspelled 29A: DUNCANHINES (Restaurant critic who lent his name to a brand at the supermarket) as “Duncan Heinz” (my third and final error of the day). It didn’t look right to me, and I was able to correct this mistake a few moments later without much lost effort.
16D: FAITHNOMORE (Grammy-nominated rock band for “Epic”) gave me fits. I’m not sure I could pick Faith No More out of a line-up, and the “T” in “Ashton” (as yet uncorrected) was still staring me in the face, and I was thinking “future,” which didn’t help at all.
I finally got the NE finished. 16A: FUNHOUSE (What you might get a distorted picture from?) gave me the final two long center verticals, including Faith No More and 14D: TURNSIGNALS (Side lights?). That gave me my corrections to 39A (Ashman Howard), which is where I finished.