Monday, August 11, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Laundry - four theme answers end with words that describe just-finished laundry
It's Monday. This was very easy. Never noticed the theme til I was done. Wondered how BLOWS A FUSE (11D: Loses it) and AT ALL COSTS (29D: No matter what) fit in ... then realized they didn't. They're just long. I am getting a very late start and the puppy in the next room is constantly threatening to break into (ear-piercing) song, so this will have to be quick. Can you give dogs ETHER (8D: Onetime dental anesthetic)? [Dear ASPCA, I'm kidding]
- 17A: Psychologically manipulated (brain-washed)
- 34A: Formulaic (cut-and-dried)
- 42A: Put-upon (hard-pressed)
- 62A: Like players in pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey (blind-folded)
Wow, they're all hyphenated (unless "blind-folded" isn't ... I'm way too tired to check). Interesting.
So I finished this in ... well the clock says 3:40, though the end was weird because I finished the grid, then immediately realized the last answer I'd written in was wrong - I had JEER where JAPE was supposed to go - so then I restarted timer and typed right answer. I think. Anyway, I got to wondering what separated my time on this puzzle (with an average Monday time for me) from my record time, considering nothing in this puzzle was hard. It's the little hesitations and rewrites that are costly when you are trying to come in under the 3 minute mark. You can't afford to be pondering an answer or surveying the grid for Any length of time. So here are the places that made me stumble Slightly, just so you know.
- 15A: Bizarre (outré) - I actually nailed this with no crosses, but DOUBTED it, considering it's Monday and OUTRÉ is a pretty OUTRÉ word.
- 10D: Fiery-tempered sort, they say (red head) - this is the one that really held me back (relatively speaking) in the NW. Stereotypical nonsense like this is not something I expect in my NYT puzzle. I guess it's harmless enough - it's not passing on info about what Irish or blacks or gay people are supposedly like, and it's not too derogatory. But still. It threw me. I had two or three passes at it before I got it. Here's a red head I like (Happy Birthday, Andrew):
- 38A: Furnace output (heat) - I had SOOT, lord knows why
- 39A: Western treaty grp. (OAS) - like OUTRÉ, I nailed this but then doubted it. I have to learn to trust myself more ... though inevitably I'll end up trusting myself when such trust is unfounded.
- 48A: Smooth and lustrous (silken) - I had SATEEN (!?)
- 49A: At an angle (canted) - I don't really know this word. I know "cantered" (daughter starts pony camp today).
- 34D: When repeated, a toy train (choo) - wha? I was looking for a brand name. Or an actual name of any kind. "What a child calls a toy train," perhaps.
- 63D: "This puzzle is really, really hard," e.g. (lie) - I really, really didn't like this. Mondays are hard for people who are just starting out. Jeez. Have a little sympathy. No need to be smug about your Monday puzzle-solving skillz.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS if your day is rainy, like mine, please use the following video to cheer you up: "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden," complete with ... dancers (thanks, Steve!)