Sunday, June 24, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: Opposite Options - Four theme answers are things that involve a choice between two opposing options
I have a huge problem with the wording of the theme answers. The OPTIONS are the first parts of the answers - Pass or Fail, Yes or No, On or Off ... these are sets of OPTIONS. The noun that follows these OPTIONS is technically not, itself, an OPTION, though that is how it is clued in every instance:
- 20A: Course option (pass/fail class) - OK, you can OPT to take such a class, I guess...
- 37A: Response option (yes/no answer) - [missed-answer buzzer sound] - first of all, the phrase "YES/NO QUESTION" is far far more in-the-language. Second, you can OPT for "yes" or you can OPT for "no," but you cannot OPT for a YES/NO ANSWER. It's just ... off.
- 44A: Electric light option (on/off switch) - OK, here, I suppose you could have OPTED for a dimmer, but instead you OPTED for an ON/OFF SWITCH ... but that does not seem what is intended. The "option" part appears to want to refer to the either/or-ness, and here ... no. Just no no no. You can OPT to have the switch ON, or you can OPT to have it OFF. You OPT for the switch itself only if you are designing a lighting concept for the room.
- 59A: Quiz option (true/false test) - this is the worst of them all. A "quiz" is a TEST. How can a TEST be a "Quiz option?" HOW!? Please don't tell me that you are the quiz constructor deciding from a number of different kinds of quizzes, and thus OPTING for a TRUE/FALSE one.
I guess my primary objection here is that the "option" part of the clues suggests a choice between two, as do the beginnings of every theme answer, only in NO CASE are the beginnings actually the options. I feel as if 10% of you will be with me on this, 20% will disagree, and 70% will wonder how anyone could get so exercised about clue syntax. And on a Monday, no less.
Had some trouble with:
- 8D: Chew (on) (munch) - had the "M" and couldn't think of Anything that would fit
- 15A: Argue against (rebut) - had the REB and blithely entered REBEL
- 42A: Dweller along the Volga (Tatar) - wouldn't come to me at all. Had the T, then the TA, and needed the TAT before I could fill it in
- 38D: Courtroom affirmation (oath) - had the O and could think only OYEZ (my mind = poisoned by crosswords)
- 39D: Western U.S. gas giant (Arco) - it's been too long since I lived out west. This name rings a bell, but only faintly. I'm so used to ESSO as my go-to four-letter gas answer.
- 56D: Outcast (leper) - I had LONER and did Not want to give it up
- 35D: "Go fast!," to a driver ("Gun it!") - had the -NIT and could think only of STEP ON IT. For about one second I thought maybe it could be a rebus answer, with STEP somehow crammed into that one square.
Still, I had an average Monday time. Hoping for smoother puzzle action tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld