Thursday, July 12, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium-Hard
THEME: BRAIN (65A: Word that can precede the starts of 17-, 35- and 54-Across and 16-Down)
No time today, so this will be very short (for real this time). I did not like this puzzle. The theme is conceptually mediocre, the answers are boring, and the whole thing is asymmetrically executed, with BRAIN hanging out there in the far SE with nothing to balance it out in the far NW except the non-thematic ADAGE (1A:Part of Poor Richard's Almanack).
- 17A: It might help you take a turn for the better (power steering)
- 35A: Ten minutes in a laundry, maybe (wash cycle)
- 54A: "You'll have to take my word for it" ("trust me on this") - best of the theme answers, by far
- 16D: Low pressure area (storm center)
Further, once again, there was a distastefully large pile of abbreviations, and this time I got killed by them. I would have found this puzzle much easier if a. I could have remembered HUMERI a LOT more quickly (40A: Upper armbones) and b. I could have parsed OTTO IV (30A: Emperor under Pope Innocent III) as a name + Roman numeral back when I had -TTOI-. I thought maybe ST. TOI-, then thought one of my crosses must be wrong. No, it's just some emperor I never heard of crossing a film clue I've never heard of (19D: Abbr. on a film box - ISO) and a brandy clue I've heard of but completely blanked on (31D: Letters on a Remy Martin bottle - VSOP). OTTO IV, ISO, VSOP - that's just an ugly mess.
Not one, but two playground taunts. Imaginative.
- 25D: Word repeated in a child's taunt (liar)
- 50D: Kindergarten comeback ("is too")
12A: Think over, in a way (replan) - oh, I see ... "in a way." Huh. Hmm. Nope, still doesn't make REPLAN much of a word.
2D: Frying medium (deep fat) - actually love the answer, but ... something about the "deep" part being the "medium" is feeling off to me. The "DEEP" refers to how much fat is in the fryer, not the quality of the FAT, right? I'm going to let this answer off with a warning.
37A: Hangar site (airdrome) - my least favorite thing in the grid. 103K Google hits for this "word," compared with 2.45 million for AERODROME.
- 8D: Yellow spring flower (oxlip) - can't keep my oxes straight, from LIP to TAIL to EYE...
- 28D: Kind of rate in a bank: Abbr. (exch.) - this isn't hard, but it's yet another abbreviation, and this one would not come to me at all
- 33D: Jewish month (Elul) - can never remember this. Had EDER and EDEL and ELAL etc.
- 47A: Nutcases (locos) - I guess ... if you are Spanish, or in the wild west
- 48A: Pilgrim to Mecca (Hadji) - misread it as "pilgrimage" and so tried to stretch HADJ to five letters by first doubling the D then doubling the J
- 63A: A Lennon sister (Dianne) - whatever
- 41D: Egg-laying mammal (echidna) - heard of it, but couldn't draw you a picture if my life depended on it
Best thing about puzzle: crossing of YAO (46D: 7'6" N.B.A. star - I had BOL at first) and TAO (51A: Fundamental of philosophy - wanted ISM at first).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld