MONDAY, Sep. 29, 2008 - Sharon Delorme (Main bank vis-a-vis currency / Drunk's sound / Geisha's waistband)
Monday, September 29, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Double "-WER" words - four theme answers are each made up of two words (both ending in "-WER") that are spelled the same but pronounced differently
The easiness factor provided by the theme - once you get one answer, the others are a cinch to pick up - was offset at least a little by some odd or tortuous cluing that made at least one part of the puzzle slightly thorny. Otherwise, a fine, average Monday puzzle. Not a lot to say. I do like that that theme, simple though it is, has certain consistencies throughout, like the "-WER" ending, and a vowel sound change in each instance. Normally I can't stand seeing so many "-ER" words (Odd Jobs, verbs made into nouns by the addition of the "-ER" suffix), but none of the "-ER" words here is forced or strained - just very common words. The same cannot be said, sadly, for ISSUER, which is the blottiest blot on this puzzle's face, both because the word itself is terrible, and because the clue is from outer space: 5D: Main bank vis-à-vis currency. I couldn't make sense of it at first. Or at second. Just wouldn't process it. Add to that my uncertainty about what was meant by "Main bank" (which is probably just a reference to any country's central bank). Then, as the word came into view ... well, it's hardly a word, so ... I never really "got" the clue. I just got all the crosses, then noticed what I had filled in.
- 18A: One who embroiders a waste conduit? (sewer sewer)
- 26A: Sketcher of a bureau compartment? (drawer drawer)
- 47A: Presenter of a bathroom stall? (shower shower)
- 60A: One pulling a tall structure? (tower tower)
- 1A: It may get a licking after lunch (Oreo) - wife and I both balked at this, but for different reasons. I didn't like the "licking" part, even though I see people do that in OREO commercials. It's a very unsatisfying and impractical way to come at an OREO. That creme filling just doesn't come up with a lick. Who has that kid of patience. You use your teeth to scrape, or just bite in. Wife, on the other hand, did not like arbitrariness of "after lunch."
Her: "Why 'after lunch'?"
Me: "I think they're mostly thought of as an afternoon snack for kids, so ... 'after lunch.'"
Her: "But it doesn't say 'afternoon,' it says 'after lunch.'"
Me: "'Afternoon' is 'after lunch.'"
Her: "So is nighttime..." - Etc.
Actual answer: Will likes to alliterate - licking ... lunch ... the end.
- 5A: Charged, as particles (ionic) - wanted IONIZED. I like IONIC SPELT up there in the north, though I would have liked IRONIC SPELT even more (here I'm thinking of SPELT the grain, which I wish this SPELT was - 15A: Said letter by letter, British-style)
- 22A: Drug that's smoked in a pipe (opium) - Do people still smoke opium, like they are 19c. travelers to the Far East or something? These days, I think most opium is processed into heroin. Just say 'no,' kids.
- 31A: Drunk's sound ("hic") - that's right, stick to the booze.
- 67A: Meeting: Abbr. (sess.) - wife would like to add that this is a terrible abbr. And in the same quadrant as the ugly "Var." AMEER and plural MATTS?
- 4D: Pacific island in major W.W. II fighting (Okinawa) - OKINAWA crossing STUN GUNS (20A: Police weapons that immobilize suspects) really livens up the place.
- 46D: Bothers (molests) - wife and I would both like to say that if these words are synonymous, they are barely so. You don't arrest people for "bothering" children. Believe me. I bother my child all the time. Just ask her. Me, to daughter, while daughter is reading: "Hey, what are Betty and Veronica doing now? What's Veronica's dad's name? What's their principal's name? What's happening in your Harry Potter book? Did he die yet?" Etc.
- 61A: Scottish cap (tam)
- 62A: Geisha's waistband (obi) - the TAM and the OBI: essentials of the crossword wardrobe. I dare you to wear both of these at once. Why not today? Be sure to send me a picture (or any crossword-related pictures) and I will post them for the world to see / admire / mock.