Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy to Medium
THEME: Quip from a hunter = :(
The only thing that put this puzzle at a Wednesday level of difficulty was its quip-ness - hard to get those long Acrosses until you've filled in a lot of Downs. I actually got the first half of the quip, parts 1 and 2, quickly. Then part 4. The last half of part 3 was the last part to give. But as I said, the non-theme fill was a cinch, more Tuesday than Wednesday. I had a little trouble getting into the NW and finally polishing off the mid-SE, but overall, no sweat. Just over 6 minutes solving time today.
I TRIED TO BUY (21A)
A CAMOUFLAGE SUIT (27A)
BUT I COULDN'T FIND (46A)
ONE ANYWHERE (54A)
Take my wife, please!
The problem with your average quip puzzle (and this one is no better than average) is that non-theme fill tends to suck - all originality is sacrificed on the altar of the quip. Check out the crosswordese: SWAB, HALO, ADEN, ALEE, ESAU, ABED, SASE, TET, ION, OAF, HIED. In the miserable SW corner alone, we have OSLO, NEAR, ERIE, SERA, LAIC, and ORES - a veritable slag heap of craptacular fill. This is not to mention all the highly unimaginative fill, e.g. SHOE, FEAR, CENT, TOE, etc.
Despite its horrible quip nature, this puzzle has some fabulous fill, most notably 24A: Composer Rimsky-Korsakov (Nikolai), whose "Capriccio Espagnol" I listen to often (thanks, Andrew); 49D: Kind of statement, to a programmer (If / Then); and 50D: Vegetarian's stipulation ("No meat"), which is very original. I had -MEAT, and without looking at the clue, I filled in COME AT - NO MEAT is so much better. I'm a fake vegetarian, in that I don't eat meat or poultry, but I eat fish (which technically makes me a "pescavegetarian," but that name is soooo pretentious that I can't bring myself to use it).
BONDAGE (9D: Slave's state) is nice too, though the clue could have been ... spicier. D CELLS was a little tough to uncover (48D: Some batteries). Have D CUPS ever been in the puzzle - would ... they ... pass the breakfast table test? If I saw D CUPS in the puzzle, I would most certainly exclaim HOLY COW (43D: "Geez Louise!"), if not something a little stronger. WADI (7D: Dry riverbed) is a very cool word that I know only from crosswords. There is only one answer in today's grid that I flat out didn't know - 47D: "Almost Paradise" author Susan (Isaacs). The only "Almost Paradise" I know is a generic power ballad from the mid-80's by Ann Wilson (half of Heart, and one of the greatest female rock vocalists of all time) and Mike Reno (uh, who? - oh my God he was the lead singer for Loverboy!).
We're knocking on heaven's door
How could we ask for more?
I swear that I can see forever
In your eyes...
Speaking of cheesy pop songs, I ATE UP everything about the NW corner, especially Mr. SEDAKA (3D: Neil who wrote "Stupid Cupid"), who looks rather awesome standing next to ATOMIC (2D: Like some energy) and BANANA (1D: Yogurt flavor - random clue, btw). I would pay good money to go see "Neil SEDAKA and the ATOMIC BANANA," even if they insisted on closing the show with a cover of "Almost Paradise."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld