Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: [@#$!]-ing animal puns
The theme is what it is. Cute. Not terribly coherent. Given all the reasons I've heard for puzzles being rejected, I'm kinda surprised that LYNX got in there, in that it creates a plural where all the other answers are singular (yes, that can most definitely be a deal-breaker in some cases with some editors, if my sources are telling the truth). Andrea, wasn't that one of the reasons your HEATH puzzle (which appeared in the LAT yesterday) was multiply rejected? Because of Tim MEADOWS? Anyway, I don't think the odd plural is that big a deal. I wish there was more payoff in the non-theme fill, instead of blechhy stuff like IRED (37A: Teed off) and an "H"-containing MYNAHS (25D: Chatty avians). [Cruciverb.com is not responding right now, or I would check on the comparative frequency of MYNA and MYNAH] WEE LAD (30D: Li'l fellow) is a bit grating to my ears, but it's so unusual and original that today, it's a high point.
- 20A: Antlered salon employee? (styling moose)
- 31A: Lost bobcat? (missing lynx)
- 45A: Wildebeest who doesn't spare the rod? (spanking gnu) - good clue
- 52A: Unwelcome porcine party attendee? (crashing boar)
Though most of today's fill is quite ordinary, there are a few highlights. MOE isn't especially noteworthy as an answer (especially when it's not clued via "The Simpsons"), but the clue here is fantastic: 25A: Curly poker. I like that the clue on WORLD was not (to me) a gimme. Perfectly apt, but quite vague when you don't have any or many crosses: 4D: Word before class or war. My wife and I do the xword in The Listener (NZ) and they frequently have clues like "Word that can appear before blah, blah, or blah," and I am Terrible at that kind of clue. 9 times out of 10 my wife comes up with the answer first. As you know, I cannot get enough HOBO in my puzzle, so I enjoyed 14A: Boxcar hopper. I'm not normally a cheerleader for foreign words, but for some reason SUISSE really lights up today's puzzle (28D: Geneve's land). Of course I may just be feeling self-satisfied because my French came in handy. That happens. EXPATS is a fun word to say (27D: Nationals living abroad, informally). For some reason, my brain is trying to clue the word in question-marky fashion: [Former Summitt namesakes?].
- 23A: Woodworker's groove (dado) - I'm becoming alarmed at how frequently I am seeing this word. OK, so it's only once every several months, but with a word like DADO, that feels like a lot. I'd like to ask constructors to back off. I don't want to see this word become the new RELO.
- 34A: Heebie-jeebies (unease) - a dull answer to a lively clue.
- 50A: Broadway musical with the song "Will I?" ("Rent") - saw it, forgot it. Maybe my next taste of Broadway will be better ...
- 57A: Crawfish's home (bayou) - Good clue, colorful word.
- 66A: European deer (roes) - did not know there were particularly European, though I feel as if I've typed those very words before...
- 8D: Showy blooms (begonias)
- 9D: Prom accessory (corsage) - nice combo. Would anyone ever wear a BEGONIA as a CORSAGE?
- 35D: Yemeni port (Aden) - first, I get ADEN and OMAN confused (stupid, I know). Second, I have a weird aversion to both words, from a crossword standpoint. I know I will have to use one or both eventually, but I'm trying to keep stuff that screams "crosswordiness" to a minimum.
- 44D: Pulmonary organ (lung) - I have no idea why the word "pulmonary" is fascinating me this morning. Maybe my brain is just massively dissatisfied with the words it has available to it this morning. Actually, I think my brain is just preoccupied with this:
Jon Lester, cancer survivor, throws no-hitter at Fenway vs. Kansas City Royals - Red Sox win 7-0
Thanks to Matt for sending me the text message that allowed me to catch the final three outs.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld