Monday, July 2, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: Speedy - three theme answers are all phrases that end with a word that can mean "speedy" (though used here in a non-"speedy" sense)
This was a very easy puzzle, with only a few minor trouble spots. All in all, a solid, middle-of-the-road Tuesday effort. I'm especially happy that all the "speedy" synonyms are used in non-"speedy" contexts here - that is how I prefer my themes to be executed; shows a certain cleverness, not to mention added level of difficulty. After yesterday's "Beforehand" puzzle, where three of the four "hands" were basically farm-workers, I was happy to see a nice, wide range of reference here.
- 20A: Deeply hurt (cut to the QUICK)
- 36A: Ramadan observance (religious FAST) - [Reason for not eating] would have worked better, only because "religious" is redundant here; if it's a Ramadan observance, then by definition it's "religious."
- 54A: Gulliver's creator (Jonathan SWIFT) - I once misspelled "Jonathan" in a paper I wrote on Swift in college. Turns out, it was the professor's son's name, so ... the professor noticed. That professor also drove a Miata. How's that for a non sequitur?
Why no FLEET? Probably because there are no good expressions or phrases that end in FLEET.
3D: Semiformal (black tie) - I thought BLACK TIE meant "formal." Shows you how many times I've worn a tux in my life (one: my sister's wedding)
10A: Hook attachment (bait)
10D: Petty officer (bosun)
I had LINE and LIEUT for a few seconds ... LIEUT!? Whatever. It felt right. While we're in the NW ... I love all the hard "C" sounds up here, with ANTICS (11D: Class clown's doings) and ICICLE (12D: Yule tree hanging) and TERKEL (13D: Pulitzer winner Studs) all in succession.
17A: Colorful food fish (opahs) - oh the "S" here is truly annoying. If you would not say TROUTS (and you wouldn't), you would not say OPAHS. Not only is OPAHS infinitely less common than OPAH, if you Google OPAHS, Google thinks you made a mistake and asks "Did you mean OPRAH'S?"
61A: Game played on a wall (darts) - I had DART before I knew the answer. The board hangs on a wall ... it's a stretch. Don't like it. People play DARTS in pubs, and many pubs are IRISH - I would have liked a very different answer for 66A: Like leprechauns, though; TERRIFYING, perhaps. Or, if you need just five letters, SCARY.
63D: _____-crab soup (she-) - not two minutes ago, my wife burst out laughing from the next room. When I asked her "What is it?" She exclaimed, in disbelief, "SHE-crab soup?!" My thoughts exactly. Does not sound appetizing, though as seafood answers go, it beats OPAHS.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld