Sunday, September 16, 2007
Relative difficulty: Challenging
THEME: [Bell ringer] - four theme answers have "Bell ringer" for a clue
This may be the first time I've ever rated a Monday puzzle "Challenging." I completed it in 4:15, which is an average Monday time for me, but while I was solving, I kept thinking "damn" and "no way" because the fill was so ... unexpected. And I Loved how the first theme answer is split over the first and last Across answers. Nice framing device. Despite some crosswordese (e.g. 39D: Palindromic tribe name (Oto)), this puzzle is SO much more lively and vibrant than your average Monday, and it's "Challenging" only insofar as most of the fill is not your typical humdrum early-week crap. Some of it actually takes some thought to piece out. So ... "Challenging." I felt like I was very much on top of my solving game, and still my time was just average. So it must have been challenging. Whatever - this isn't an exact science!
- 1A: With 68-Across, bell ringer (Avon / Lady)
- 20A: Bell ringer (church warden) - a fresh phrase, but one that is barely in my vocabulary (again, "challenging")
- 37A: Bell ringer (percussionist) - another great long answer, and one that mystified me at first; had the -CUSSION- part and for some reason wrote in DISCUSSION... the "D" actually gave me a plausible answer, DOSE, for 37D: Bit of medicine (pill).
- 54A: Bell ringer (bicycle rider)
My best friend, however, thinks this guy is the prettiest man who has ever been on television:
Anyway ... good job, Sarah Keller - this puzzle goes in the "Best of..." file I've got sitting on my computer desktop; it's in serious contention for best Monday puzzle of the year.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld