Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "A LOT ON ONE'S PLATE" (7D: One, two and three ... or this puzzle's title) - theme answers involve food
I found this puzzle really clunky, themewise. Nosowsky puzzles are usually a blast, but I still can't figure out the organizing principle of this puzzle. First, the theme answers:
- 17A: One ... (tenderloin steak)
- 41A: Two ... (eggs sunny-side up)
- 65A: Three ... (peaches and cream)
Now, am I supposed to believe that someone would actually order this for breakfast? If so, the only part I buy is the two eggs part. Maybe the steak. But not only have I not seen PEACHES AND CREAM on a menu ... that I can remember ... ever, I don't believe you would order "three" PEACHES AND CREAM. You would order PEACHES AND CREAM and you'd get the number of peaches that came with it. Or are "One," "Two," and "Three" supposed to be the numbers of breakfast specials? If so, then you would not have a LOT ON [your] PLATE. You would have a lot on your PLATES. Do really accomplished constructors get away with ragged puzzles like this because of their established reputation?
The rest of the grid was fine, though there was nothing truly amazing, and at least one clue that seemed really badly written. 13D: Tut's kin? (tsks) is bad on a couple of levels, actually. First, a plural? Really? Use it in a sentence. I thought not. Second, "Tut" is singular in the clue, where TSKS (as we've established) is plural. Now I know that "kin" can imply many folks, but still, that's horrible incongruity, especially in a Tuesday puzzle, where I don't expect loopy, intentionally misdirective cluing. My first answer here was TSAR because I had the TS- (obviously) and thought Tut was the King, hence autocrat, hence TSAR. Didn't know 22A: Brenner Pass locale (Alps) - a clue which also does not seem as if its answer would be plural - so my NE corner has lots of scratch marks. Another bad clue (answer, actually), IMOO, was 43D: High school course, for short (Driver Ed.) - I would never ever ever say DRIVER. I would say DRIVER'S. I can't be the only one.
9A: Visual movement popularized in the 1960s (Op art) has gone from being an unknown to being a gimme for me in just the past few months, but there are a number of other clues in the puzzle that either threw me or surprised me (or might have thrown others). And they are:
- 23A: Many a TV clip (promo) - true enough, but it's not the first word that leaps to mind. I like the word, but it's weird, and nothing but "TV" does anything to clue you in that it's an abbreviation.
- 30A: Headed out (went) - you are thinking "what? That was easy." And it was, except I had LEFT, both because the "E" and "T" were right, and because the "F" made the long Down answer at 7D look like it would read A LOT OF ..., which seemed right, phrasing-wise.
- 32A: Averse (loath) - many people misspell this word by putting an "E" on the end.
- 45A: W.W. I German admiral (Spee) - another answer I learned from doing crosswords.
- 46A: Rafael's wrap (serape) - I've had my fill of SERAPES for this month (see Saturday's puzzle).
- 56A: Iolani Palace locale (Oahu) - final "U" made it easy, but I've never heard of said "Palace."
- 69A: Langston Hughes poem ("I Too") - literary embarrassments continue, as I've never heard of this poem (though you'll be happy to know that I have heard of Langston Hughes).
- 11D: 1 1/2 rotation leap (axel) - first, this clue got All Screwed Up in AcrossLite, where the slash showed up as a picture of an apple (!?) on screen, and didn't show up at all in my printed out version, where the clue looked like this: [1 12 rotation leap]. Second, I made the stupid AXLE / AXEL mistake. Yet again.
- 26D: Half of an old comedy duo (Ollie) - Technically, shouldn't this be HARDY? I got OLLIE easy, but when I tried to think of his partner, all I could think of were KUKLA and FRAN.
- 37D: Immigrant from Japan (Issei) - second generation = Nisei. Third generation = Sansei. Good words to know.
- 57D: Sleek, in auto talk (aero) - would you really just call a car "AERO?" Weird.
- 63D: Thomas who wrote "The Magic Mountain" (Mann) - knew it. Never read it. I prefer Aimee MANN. Or maybe Manfred.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of Crossworld