WEDNESDAY, Aug. 27, 2008 - Donna Hoke Kahwaty (Comical Boosler / Capulet murdered by Romeo / Suffix with buoy)
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Relative difficulty: Eeeeeeeasy
THEME: Stuttering - familiar phrases have their first word repeated, creating comically improbably phrases, which are clued in comical "?" style
My only comment on the entire puzzle when I test-solved it was "EZ," which I had underlined a million times. I thought Will had said that he was going to toy with the clues to make it harder, but the clues are virtually identical to the ones I saw first, and the only clue change that could possibly have led to an increase in difficulty was the removal of "(informed)" from the tail end of 6D: In the _____ (know). Otherwise, it remains a shockingly easy puzzle. I suppose if you don't know what a PAWPAW is, you might struggle, but otherwise, I don't see the difficulty here. I struggled a tiny bit in the far west, where something about the non-"ing" ending on NITPICKY (4D: Sweating the small stuff), the non-ANCE answer to 35A: Suffix with buoy, and the (to me) mildly weird ESKIMO clue (22A: Parka wearer, maybe), caused a slight slowdown. But otherwise, a cakewalk.
- 20A: Some fruit still lifes? (pawpaw prints) - this theme is pretty clever, I'll give it that
- 26A: Showy dance intro? (can-can opener)
- 41A: Gobbler in a powwow musical group? (tom tom turkey)
- 47A: Chocolate's journey? (bonbon voyage)
The eeriest word in the puzzle, to my eye, is YARE (50D: Easy to maneuver, at sea), which I assume is pronounced "YAR," but I could be wrong. I think a pirate might say "YAR," and a ship might "YAW." "YARE" just looks like a typo for "YEAR." The clue for UNION (19A: Shop group) was mildly tricky, but I blew right through the Down crosses and thus barely noticed it. 25A: Orbital extreme (apogee) could easily have created trouble, but APOGEE came very quickly for some reason. I handed out copies of DANTE's "Inferno" to all my TAs today, so 59A: Writer who went to hell? (Dante), despite its little trickiness-indicating question mark, read like a straight clue to me (and in the original draft, it was - [As a writer he went to hell]).
OK, off to watch "The Situation Room" - I mean "The Colbert Report." More in the morning.
54D: "The Situation Room" airer (CNN)
[the next morning...]
OK, the first issue is that I made an error in transcribing the grid from paper to computer, and it's one I should have recognized as a possible error for LOTS of people. ELAYNE Boosler (43A: Comical Boosler) is virtually crosswordese to me, so often have I seen her "Y"-ish name in the grid, so I never considered that the crossing of her name (proper noun) with TYBALT (proper noun) (41D: Capulet murdered by Romeo) at the "Y" would cause any trouble. But of course it would - "I" spellings seem reasonable, certainly no less outrageous than "Y" spellings. So my sympathies if you tripped here. Would have been super annoying for one to torch a puzzle in one's best time ever only to find out that one had a mistake (those "one"s are for you, Seth).
- 39A: Actor Rutger _____ (Hauer) - someone in the comments section said he didn't know who this was. You're in good company; neither did Will.
- 2D: Jersey sound (moo) - was "lament," which I like better.
- 37D: Dungeons & Dragons character (sorcerer) - I remember them as "wizards," but that could be Harry Potter running interference in my brain.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld