Friday, October 26, 2007
Relative difficulty: Challenging
There will be no commentary today until after 1pm. Many apologies. Procrastination has finally caught up to me - which is to say that I have to grade exams all morning. Second-worst part of the job, next to grading papers. Hence the procrastination. ANYway, I'll post a little something in the early afternoon.
See you then,
PS you are of course free to discuss the puzzle amongst yourselves.
PPS or you could amuse yourself by checking out the results of my most recent book-buying excursion.
And now I'm back. I wasted much time hanging out with my smart, cool students pretending I was somehow like them. Sad, I know, but diverting in a harmless way.
As for the puzzle, I have shocking news: I really didn't like it. REALLY didn't like it. Orange assures me that this is only because I was tired and was trying to solve immediately post-yoga - my mind was just not in solve mode. She also assures me that weeks from now I will love this puzzle. We'll see. My standards for DQ puzzles are ridiculously high, thus, this is probably a very good puzzle. But I was disappointed by a bunch of fill (but especially cluing, which may not have been DQ's fault). For instance:
1A: News Corporation-owned Web site that's one of the 10 most visited sites in the world (MySpace) - could you make the clue more boring and leaden? NewsCorp? Ugh. There's gotta be way more exciting ways to clue a snazzy entry like MYSPACE.
37A: "Let me live my own life!" ("I'm not you!") - If I try real hard, I can almost hear some kid saying this to his parent - or maybe a friend saying it to another friend? But only barely. I would have liked the answer much better if it had been "GO TO HELL!"
- 59A: Former field food (K Ration)
- 61A: Terminal timesaver (E-ticket)
- 11D: Center of connecticut (silent C)
I consider all these to be beneath DQ. He's either used them before, or someone else has, and they just seem too wannabe-tricky.
64A: Crossword source since 1942: Abbr. (NY Times) - blecch. Too meta / self-congratulatory
4D: With 20-Down, waffle alternative (pop / tart) - absolutely not. These are from entirely different food universes. I can order a waffle at a restaurant. I would sit down and eat waffles off of a plate. Neither of these is true of pop tarts. Maybe [frozen waffle alternative] would have worked, because of the toaster connection. Maybe.
15D: Cheering section (rooters) - technically correct, but you would say the clue; you would never say "My ROOTERS are up in the bleachers!"
50D: Bernoulli family birthplace (Basel) - First I'd need to know who the @#$# the "Bernoulli family" is. Next, I'd have to know that there is a place in the world named BASEL. No luck on either count.
17A: What the key of D minor has (one flat) - random phrase. How 'bout [What two British people share, perhaps]. That's no less makeshift.
Better stuff included:
14A: Yellow fliers with large eyespots (Io moths) - wanted MOTHS so bad but wouldn't write it in because, really, what word could go there that's two letters long?
22A: Miss Gulch biter (Toto) - this is the "I Am An Idiot" clue of the day. I had No Idea for so long, and couldn't think of any animal that ended in "O." Things were so bad that I was wishing the answer could have been ASP.
36A: Walled city of the Mideast (Sana)
53A: 1980s sitcom title role (Alf)
I just like these 'cause they were easy, and I needed easy last night.
62A: Its value is in creasing (origami) - so great. Just happy the answer wasn't IRON.
2D: Poem reader at the 2006 Olympics ceremony (Yoko Ono) - hasn't she been in a DQ puzzle before? Anyway, I don't like this answer much, but it totally saved my ass last night. Magically got the answer off of just the final "O." I was in Deep deep trouble in the NW until I cracked this one.
35D: Lopsided court result (love set) - nice, in-the-(tennis-)language phrase.
46A: Taper (VCR) - hmmm. Yeah, I'll allow this. Borderline, in that its cluing is too cutesy / intentionally misleading. BUT ... I had VEE for the answer at first, which I like as a wrong answer, and so I got at least a little pleasure out of this clue.
8D: Family group (genus) - last thing I filled in was the "U" (changed it from an "E," of course).
44D: Burial place of many French kings (St. Denis)
9D: _____-Neisse Line (Oder) - whatever you say.
27D: He wrote "It's certain that fine women eat / A crazy salad with their meat" (Yeats) - never read him; didn't know he wrote such silly verse.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld