MONDAY, Apr. 2, 2007 - Richard Hughes

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)

Brush up on your crosswordese

  • 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.

Unexpected stuff

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


Linda G 10:04 AM  

We were on the same (wrong) track. I also had RUIN and LUTE for a short time.

Worst wrong answer that tied me up for a while = I had SLIM for 6A (narrow cut) rather than SLIT. I was thinking jeans that are narrow cut are slim. That messed up 9D, especially because I'd seen the expression spelled VINCI (without the T) and I wasn't sure what letter to put there. So had MES-ED which was clearly not going to make a word that fit the clue.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

May I respectfully suggest that Bluestater consider starting his own blog to air his unhappiness with Will Shortz' work (not the person, of course, so that he can't be accused of ad hominemism). I feel sure it will become even more popular than Rex or Orange's blog. I for one can't wait. ;>}

Rex Parker 11:05 AM  

The more blogs the better (... I always say?).

Meanwhile, everyone should do today's NY Sun puzzle. Well, you should be doing the Sun puzzle every day anyway, but today's was especially delicious ... to me. And appropriate, considering what today is and what I'll be doing at 4:00pm. Hint: it involves TV. And beer.


Anonymous 12:24 PM  


I guess you don't mean a Passover Seder as beer and Tv are definitely not part of thet.

Can one do the NY SUN crossword on line? Where?


Rex Parker 12:38 PM  


See sidebar for NY Sun. Do online or download to desktop.


Alex 12:53 PM  

I'm not keen on NERVED = Strengthened either.

UNNERVED is a weakened resolve but I don't know that NERVED would be a strengthened one. INNERVED, maybe.

But I'm not finding any use of NERVED in the way clued.

Linda G 1:07 PM  

When the King issues a command, the loyal servant obeys.

I've now done my first Sun puzzle. Didn't know I could access it so easily but will add it to my daily to-do list.

Fun and easy puzzle, clever theme. Helps that my brothers played and my dad coached.

I'm starting a new job today after a five-month respite. I hope it doesn't interfere with my puzzling!

campesite 1:51 PM  

I learned of the NY Sun Puzzle on this board and Orange's blog. The puzzles are usually quite good, is the newspaper?

Anonymous 2:09 PM  




campesite 2:21 PM  

Just did the NY Sun puzzle--loved the last theme answer.
By the way, this weekend an ESPN exec said MLB is just the Red Sox and the Yankees--every other team is the Washington Generals.

Orange 3:11 PM  

campesite, as I understand it, the New York Sun is fairly conservative in its slant. It's the one that published the "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" letter way back in the day, then was defunct for decades, and was revived several years ago. I'm glad I can access the terrific crosswords edited by Peter Gordon without giving the Sun any money (though Peter appreciates donations).

And if you're just discovering the Sun crosswords now, you should consider buying the book collections of past puzzles—available by the day of the week as well as in M-F volumes.

DONALD 6:47 PM  

Hey, tried the little Sun puzzle -- takes less time than a free-cell game -- something to do while waiting for the computer to do bigger and better things!


Rock rabbit 9:31 PM  

Rex, maybe a bit of a stretch, but I'll suggest that all three theme answers are related to AMOR, as "It" can certainly make you crazy or an outcast. "It" can also make you want to SLIT your wrists, or mercifully "shuffle off this mortal coil" at times, but let's not go there. On a cheerier note, I too like the crossings of LATIN and LAVA! How about the intersection of ALAR and LOVER (is it a sly reference to winged Cupid?). Throw in PEPPERY, IDOL, and ARDOR, and you've got a puzzle pulsing with passion. I ate it up! Probably helped that it was easy and I'm a beginner/intermediate solver who still thrills at a Monday breeze.

DONALD 9:38 PM  

Outcast Norman Bates loved his mother insanely -- see photo in Donald blog The New York Times Crossword in Gothic -- "they'll look, they'll see and they'll say 'why she wouldn't harm a fly!'"

campesite 9:53 PM  

Thanks, Orange. The Sun wasn't around when I lived in New York, but a quick google search indicates a neconservative bias. I won't be subscribing.

barrywep 10:40 PM  

They don't make ESAUs ASTAs or ULEEs
anymore so they gotta keep using the old ones.

Jack 11:29 PM  

The easy-as-pie LA Times puzzle for today (Monday) has lots of baseball references if you're interested.

Anonymous 2:26 AM  

Just had to pop in to share something I thought you'd appreciate, Rex.

The crossword (by Matt Jones) in a local weekly paper I read today had the following clue:

"Actress" Spelling

D in CO

Rex Parker 8:28 AM  


Yeah, I did the Times puzzle yesterday, just after the Sun, so it was a baseball extravaganza. I only just learned that one of the xwords in my local paper is in fact the LA Times - it's marked only "Tribune Media Services" in the paper, so I didn't know. We also get the Newsday xword in our paper.

D in CO - that is a great, if vicious, clue. I think I met Matt Jones, very briefly, in Stamford. Because of him and a handful of other young-ish constructors, I have great hope for the future (i.e. my old age, when I hope to be compos mentis and solving xwords daily).


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