Monday, December 3, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Synonyms for "powerful" - every theme answer begins with one
A reasonably entertaining Monday puzzle. Never saw the theme (until I was done) but then that often happens on early-week puzzles. The theme is also very very ... basic, but two of the answers are so nice - and the non-theme fill is interesting enough - that I don't care. I have mixed emotions about my time - about 25 seconds slower than last week's record, but ... I stumbled A Lot and still got in under four, so my speed skills appear to be developing slowly but consistently. My only goal at this year's tournament (Feb. '08: right around the bend!) is to place better than 166th. I think I've got to focus more on perfect puzzles than on speed, actually. I was very pleased with last year's speeds, but I had mistakes on two puzzles, which Really kills you, scoring-wise ... but I'm getting ahead of myself. When the ACPT officially begins accepting registrations for the tournament, I'll let you know. It's in Brooklyn this year - you know you wanna go ... come on! It's fun. See my Lengthy write-up of last year's tournament starting here (Part I) at my other blog. Find parts II-V in the sidebar under "March."
- 20A: Profanity, e.g. (STRONG language)
- 36A: 1995 Woody Allen comedy ("MIGHTY Aphrodite")
- 49A: Classic "Jeopardy!" category ("POTENT Potables")
Couple of anagrams in today's puzzle. Not too thrilled by COALS (6D: Snowman's eyes) and COLAS (9A: Pepsi and RC), but somehow LONE (51D: Companionless) and ENOL (52D: Hydroxyl-carbon compound), with their parallel neighborliness, are adorable to me. When I saw that TIGER WOODS was an answer (27D: Golfer named A.P. Male Athlete of the Year four times), I immediately thought "Wait, isn't 'Elle WOODS' in one of the clues today?" Then I checked and saw that, no, REESE Witherspoon was clued in relation to a completely different role (31D: Witherspoon of "Walk the Line").
Here are the Many places that I stumbled:
- 19A: White-plumed wader (egret) - had EIDER
- 46A: Becomes frayed (wear) - I had TEAR
- 57A: From days of yore (olden) - wouldn't come quickly, for whatever reason
- 60A: Saltine brand (Zesta) - I'm only vaguely aware of its existence
- 1D: Self-pitying cry (alas) - what happen when you do way too many puzzles? You see an easy clue like this and write in "AH, ME"
- 4D: Monument carved from a single stone (monolith) - I am not kidding you when I saw that for much of the puzzle, I had MONUMENT written in here (if you don't know why this is funny, just re-read the clue)
- 22D: Dead duck (goner) - had the "GO" and wanted only GOOSE (as in "Duck, duck ...?")
- 28D: Senior moment, e.g. (lapse) - got it easily, but wanted to say that I HATE this expression. It's far too cutesy ... and I will Never be able to blow off my creeping dementia with such a breezy, off-hand expression. Or maybe I'll be so demented that I will, who knows? People age and their short-term memory goes. I know. And I sympathize. And it will happen to me. Don't think I don't know this. Oh, there's another reason I don't like this expression: I feel like perfectly brain-capable people (age 50+) use this expression as a way of explaining the fact that they just @#$#-ing forgot something (the way we all do). And I'm done.
- 30D: Pure-and-simple (utter) - these feel like opposites to me, though I see that they are not.
- 37D: Have a hankering (yearn) - had the "YE--N" and all I could think of was "Yes ... YEN ... a YEN is a hankering ... what the hell are those other letters doing in there?"
- 43D: Gird oneself (get set) - couldn't parse it quickly: GETS IT? GETS AT?
I was very happy with some of the no-look action I had today. Got DIRT BIKE (38D: Off-road two-wheeler) and MIGHTY APHRODITE without ever looking at the clues. Plus I nailed at least one answer that had been tricky for me in the past: IONA (56A: College in New Rochelle, N.Y.).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS sorry for no pictures two days in a row; they'll return tomorrow