Monday, April 2, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: LATIN LOVER - three 15-letter Latin phrases traverse the grid, and the entire grid is bracketed thematically by the first and last Across clues: 1A: With 71-Across, sort of person who might enjoy this puzzle? (Latin / Lover)
Gorgeously executed theme, but the non-thematic parts of the grid (predictably) suffer by comparison. In general, the fancier the theme and its architectural expression, the more disappointing the non-theme fill. Aside from the Latin phrases, and the rotational symmetry of LATIN and LOVER, there's not much to love here. I wish that all the Latin phrases, as opposed to just the first, had been Love-Related, but that's asking a lot. I like that LATIN intersects LAVA, both because LAVA kind of sounds like LOVER, and because LATIN LAVA makes me think of a particular piece of crosswordese that isn't in the grid: ETNA. It'd be nice to see VESUVIUS in the grid more often (i.e. ever).
The Latin phrases:
20A: Saying about the heart (amor vincit omnia) - "Love Conquers All"
39A: Crazy (non compos mentis)
57A: Outcast (persona non grata)
- 10A: Like show horses' feet (shod)
- 69A: Instrument that's plucked (lyre) - I always get LYRE and LUTE confused
- 62D: Wing-shaped (alar) - you should also know AGAR
- 30D: Single-masted boat (sloop) - not sure why, but this one shows up a Lot
- 7D: Secular (laic) - of the laity, as opposed to the clergy
- 38D: Jacob's twin in the Bible (Esau) - he gets around. A lot. More than any other crossword personality, I bet
- 26D: G.I. no-show (AWOL)
- 12D: Walking _____ (happy) / (on air) - also often clued in relation to broadcasting
- 70A: Elevator pioneer (Otis) - He's the elevator guy. He's also Mayberry's town drunk.
55A: Suffix with meteor (oid) - I had -ITE, or rather, I wanted -ITE, but my brain wouldn't let me spell MELIN with an "I."
66A: TV's "American _____" ("Idol") - for how insanely popular this show is, you'd think you'd see it in the puzzle more. I watch it religiously, as many of you already know.
67A: Demolish (raze) - another crossword favorite. Sadly, I had RUIN at first
5D: Strengthened (nerved) - I can't see how this is true, in practice. Is this like "steeled" or "braced"?
9D: Tried out (tested) - I had TASTED, which is at least as good, if not better. Unfortunately for me, EASA is not a proper answer for 15A: Comfort (ease). Nor is it a word at all, as far as I know.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld