Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: Pronunciation changes? (ugh) - every theme is a familiar phrase that is clued as if one of its words were pronounced differently ... yeah, it's not much of a "theme"
Well, this one sucked the joy right out of the room. I am all for changing pronunciation, but usually there is an actual THEME, a SUBJECT, a TOPIC, SOMETHING that makes the "theme" cohere, even a little. I peeked at Orange's site before writing this, just to see if there was something I was missing. Apparently not. This theme which is not one ... is accompanied by mostly lackluster fill. The two long Downs would Not come to me, one for good and the other for no good reason. Ditto the two 8-letter Acrosses. So it was a weakish day for me. Maybe I should be happy that I got out with the time that I did. And - as a side note - I don't need anyone (wink) writing in today telling me that this is Ms. Bowling's first puzzle (if it is) and that I should be more encouraging etc. I am being encouraging. I encourage her to write a better puzzle next time. I'll be first in line to praise it to the skies. Assuming it's good. If you want to be told today's puzzle is good, please read Orange, who claims to like it.
[I should add that if there is some part of the theme that I have missed - something that makes it all cohere beautifully - then I completely recant the above paragraph]
- 20A: Number one #2? (lead pencil)
- 9D: What a comedian might do before going onstage? (polish joke)
- 29D: Fish-shaped musical instrument? (bass guitar)
- 57A: Little woman? (minute maid)
I learned a few new things today. Why would you need a "T" in DOUBLETS (26A: 2 and 12, e.g., in dice)? DOUBLES doesn't describe the phenomenon well enough? Never heard of IRON STONE (6D: Hard porcelain). Ditto NORA (58D: Ibsen's _____ Helmer) - I just had a weird memory that my once told me that my name would have been NORA had I been born a girl. Weird. Really glad I was born a boy (no offense to the various NORAs out there - Oh, and my mom didn't name me Rex, in case you didn't already know that; that's my own pompous creation). OUSE (42A: Northamptonshire river) sounds more French than English, but I'll trust that the clue is correct. Two familiarish phrases nearly completely eluded me to the bitter end:
- PRECLUDED (34D: Made impossible)
- SCARES UP (49A: Puts together hastily)
Didn't help that they intersect. [Exasperated sound]. Tripped over VACUOUS (51A: Empty, as a stare), because of course 9 times out of 10 you're going to say "VACANT stare." Yes, you are. Trust me. One thing that made me happy about today's puzzle: 32A: Bart's teacher, _____ Krabappel (Edna) -
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld