Thursday, March 13, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: Double letters - 16 squares contain double letters - no one letter is doubled more than once
I have no idea how I finished this. I barely remember doing it. My wife saw the completed puzzle this morning and was shocked that I had done it. If you had seen me yesterday, you'd have understood her shock. Sickest day I've had in a long, long time. Head in a vise, no appetite, temperature fluctuating wildly, slightly nauseous, etc. The kind of sick where you can't do anything but lie there in a daze. I'm canceling all my classes, appointments, and other obligations from now until Monday so I can just concentrate on getting better. I think I tried to get back to work/life too quickly, and my body made me pay for it. I'm about 2% better this morning, which feels like a blessing from God.
So you'll have to tell me if the theme here is more complex than I think it is. Lots of double letters ... the end. I'm not ragging on it - I really liked it. My biggest problem was not with the theme, but with the NE in general, where it took me some time to throw both SPIKEMEN (8D: Railroad track workers) and ARRIVES AT (10D: Reaches) up there, thereby gaining enough traction to get it finished. Wanted SPIKEMEN to be STAKEMEN for a bit.
- 17A: "Scram!" ("BuZZ oFF") - had BUG OFF at first... but that gave me RAGLE for:
- 3D: Half of a showy display? (raZZle)
- 14D: Like some oil rigs (oFFshore)
- 18A: Practice area, or a sort (puTTinG GrEEn)
- 7D: Kennel club rejects (muTTs)
- 9D: Overwhelm (boGGle) - used to be addicted to online BOGGLE.
- 11D: Lee Van _____ (spaghetti western actor) (ClEEf)
- 28A: "Black rat" as opposed to "Rattus rattus" (coMMoN Name) - one of the most insane and perplexing clues I have ever seen.
- 21D: Eponym of a classic Minnesota-brewed beer (HaMM)
- 26D: _____ time (iN No)
- 36A: Biblical patriarch whose name means "he will laugh" (IsAAc)
- 31D: TV's Jack and kin (PAArs) - wanted BAUERS
- 41A: Radical Hoffman (ABBie)
- 33D: Robot in "Forbidden Planet" (RoBBy)
- 46A: Northeast, on a map (uPPeR Right)
- 38D: Spice holder (pePPer box) - weird answer; not sure I've seen this phrase before.
- 43D: Misses the mark (eRRs)
- 59A: Directories (aDDreSS bOOks)
- 55D: Less conventional (oDDer)
- 46D: Amherst campus, briefly (U MaSS)
- 56D: Blackmore heroine (DOOne) - why do I feel like Lorna DOONEs were / are a kind of cookie? Ah, because they are! Well, that's a blast from the past. Not sure when the last time I saw Lorna DOONE cookies was.
- 62A: Bygone women's magazine (MCCaLL's)
- 58D: Stops on a sales rep's rte. (aCCts)
- 52D: Last place (ceLLar)
My only ... disappointment? No, that's not it ... complaint? gripe? Maybe just a question: shouldn't all double letters in the puzzle have been given the 2-in-1 treatment, for consistency's sake? I'm looking at DEE (23A: _____ Snider, frontman for rock's Twisted Sister) and KEEN (63A: Sharp) in particular. Let's see ... what's left? ... Well, there's a host of high-end crossword language, like ORLE (16A: Shield border), HAJI (24A: Once-in-a-lifetime traveler), SONE (35A: Loudness unit), ERDE (66A: Himmel und _____ (traditional German potato dish)), and STOA (4D: Covered walkway) - most or all of which I learned from crosswords. I was not too thrilled with what seemed like a high number of abbreviations today, especially the boring look-alikes ELEM (42A: Low-grade?: Abbr.) and ELEV (27A: Figure usu. in hundreds or thousands of feet), and SYN (45A: Abridged, for short: Abbr.), which I do not understand. "For short" and "Abbr." - that's all a bit too much for me to get my (pounding) head around this morning.
- 15A: Starting fare, often (soup) - I was looking for "two dollars" or whatever a cab's meter starts at.
- 37A: "What a _____!" ("concept") - I wrote in "concert" and thought, "well, that's pretty lame."
- 37D: Job for Hercule Poirot (cas) - French for "case" - this little corner was mildly thorny for me.
- 51A: Here, in Toledo (aca) - this is a basic Spanish word, but it looks completely alien to me this morning.
- 54A: Silk fabric in scarves (foulard) - whoa. Never seen this before. Fabrics appear to be my new Kryptonite (though I pieced this one together OK).
- 57A: Onetime Missouri natives (Osages) - While I continue to flounder where fabrics are concerned, my Native American tribe-retrieving skills appear to be developing nicely.
- 65A: Parade honoree, familiarly (St. Pat) - his day is coming soon, which is the only reason I mention him. Oh, and ST PAT's day is the day that Spitzer turns over the reins to Paterson. I can't get this whole Client 9 / prostitution story in my rearview mirror fast enough. It's been only 48 hours and I'm already completely bored by it.
- 67A: Lawless role (Xena) - I like this clue for its simplicity, combined with its potential for misdirection (Lawless = not adjective, but proper noun, i.e. Lucy Lawless)
- 1D: About to bloom (in bud) - not a phrase I know, though it makes sense
- 2D: Catch up with old classmates (reune) - one of my least favorite words
- 12D: Cigarette brand that sponsored "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (Kent) - really really wanted KOOL, what with the double-letter theme and all, but KOOLS just seemed (and was) wrong.
- 28D: Grammy winner Winans (Cece) - it's that or BEBE. Wrote in the "E"s and waited for the crosses...
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld