Monday, December 24, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: LINE (52D: Word that can follow the starts of 17-, 27-, 44- and 59-Across)
I'm moving to all-paper solving, in preparation for the tournament. I realized last night that I am probably going to have to go to a thicker lead on my pencils, because I'm breaking lead too often. At any rate, this puzzle was a cinch, with the exception of a strange-ish words you don't hear very often, and one you probably never hear in casual conversation. The theme is satisfactory. Sadly for me, the one part of the puzzle where I had any measure of trouble (wrong entries, erasures, write-overs) was the far SW - where the key to the theme lay. It's the email age, so went I saw 52A: Unretrievable I wrote in SENT. The answer was LOST. I also mysteriously wrote in CPO where NCO was supposed to go (61A: Sgt. e.g.), which is slightly ironic given that I needed CPO back at 27D: TV's "_____ Sharkey" and had to hesitate to think about it: "CEO ... HBO ... ?"
- 17A: One who's always up for a good time (party animal)
- 27A: Background check for a lender (credit report) - this held me up; CREDIT part was easy, but REPORT wouldn't come. My brain just kept going "CHECK? CHECK? CHECK?" Thus, my way in to the NE was blocked. I wish I'd remembered that it was a Monday puzzle, where you don't really need any crosses to get traction anywhere you like. I'm so used to building off of answers I already have that I'm really reluctant to jump to an empty part of the grid. This is why I train ...
- 44A: Long, long sentence (life in prison)
- 59A: Light hauler (pick-up truck)
Finished in 4:16 (so solving on paper makes me ... slower?) - in a tournament situation, I could have taken another 40 seconds or so to check my grid for errors or missing letters, because your time is measured by minutes, not seconds, and so people who finish in 4:01 and those who finish in 4:59 (assuming their grids are correct) will have identical scores.
- 19A: Coastal inlet (ria) - haven't seen it for a while, but got it easily.
- 43D: Bit of land in a river (ait) - haven't seen it for a while ... and blanked on it. Completely. Didn't even see the actual answer to this clue til the end. AIT is one of the dumber-looking words in the English language. Does it rhyme with "ATE?" It looks like it would rhyme with the contemporary colloquial contraction of "ALRIGHT" - "AAIGHT!?"
- 32A: Jay-Z and Timbaland (rappers) - these guys might say "AAIGHT!?" ("AIT!?"). PS Jay-Z can be excellent when he wants to be.
- 37A: Horizontally (Across) - I really really wish this answer were going Down.
- 38A: Musical transitions (segues) - I'd have gotten this more quickly if the clue had been simply [Transitions].
- 41A: Bulls, rams and bucks (hes) - seen it, got it, still not fond of it.
- 49A: BlackBerry, e.g., in brief (PDA) - also Public Display of Affection.
- 55A: Husband of Isis (Osiris) - which contains the letters of ISIS. Cool.
- 63A: Gift recipient (donee) - familiar, but yuck.
- 8D: Olive stuffing (pimento) - possibly the most interesting word in the grid today.
- 13D: Marvel mutant superhero (Xman) - I have Never seen this in the singular before. Not in the puzzle anyway.
- 46D: Brenda Lee's "_____ Around the Christmas Tree" ("Rockin'") - this song will surely be in my head all day.
Merry Xmas Eve,
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld