Thursday, November 1, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Same clue up and down - everywhere an Across and Down clue share the same first letter, they also share the same clue
I've seen this conceit somewhere before. Not sure where or when. All of the Across-Down synonyms are fairly common words, and none of them skew the words toward different meanings, e.g. if you'd had the clue [Hit] and had the answers POPULAR SONG and PUNCH. What was interesting about a few of the shared-clue answers was that they were pairs that I often confuse when doing puzzles - Lord knows how many times, for instance, I've written EVADE when ELUDE was called for, and vice versa. The non-theme fill was mostly unremarkable, with a few fantastic exceptions. All in all, a fine, solid puzzle.
- 1A/1D: Maintain (avow / aver) - started with KEEP ... :(
- 5A/5D: Fiddle with (amend / alter)
- 10A/10D: Rubberneck (gawk / gape) - came to me instantly; love when that happens
- 25A/25D: Pair (duo / dyad) - started with TWO / TEAM ... :(
- 26A/26D: Dodge (evade / elude)
- 31A/31D: Gusto (vim / verve) - got VIM easily enough, but wanted VIGOR going Down ... :(
- 53A/53D: It's all downhill from here (apogee / acme) - love the word APOGEE; glad I went for ACME and not APEX.
- 57A/57D: Tore (ruptured / rent)
Tripped over ART I (41A: Part of the Constitution after the Preamble: Abbr.) - was convinced it was ACT I, for no good reason. Also tripped over KFC (50A: Fast-food franchise that started in S. Salt Lake, Ut.), in that I still think of that franchise as "Kentucky Fried Chicken." The move to KFC is creepy. It's like it's admitting that what it serves doesn't really qualify as food. I never see / hear the phrase In VIVO (2D: In _____ (form of research)), but I learned it from crosswords, so I didn't pause over it long. In other Latin news, I guessed, correctly, ERAT (7D: Quod _____ faciendum), which was the key to my getting out of the Far North alive. While we're still up there, I'll say that the clue 8D: Negative connector (nor) gave me minor fits for some reason. Kept thinking about batteries.
I love Thomas Hardy, though his novels are mostly gloomy and depressing, and though I haven't read "Tess" in 20 years, I vaguely remembered ALEC (40D: Lover of Tess in "Tess of the D'Urbervilles). Finally, award for the ugliest word in the puzzle goes to HAKE (43D: Relative of cod), which sounds like something my cat coughed up, or the act of his coughing it up.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld