MONDAY, Nov. 24, 2008 - Billie Truitt (Measure of national economic health / Mr. _____ (Lucy's TV boss) / Rhyming word game)
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: Digits - five theme answers end with THUMB and the names of the four fingers, respectively
Meh. It was OK. I feel like I've seen this exact theme before, which is no real knock against this puzzle - themes are replicated all the time without the constructor's knowing that it's happening. HINKY PINKY felt awful to me, but that's just because I've never heard of it. Rare for me not to have heard of a theme answer on a Monday. All in all, a very average Monday puzzle.
- 17A: Gardener's gift (green THUMB)
- 24A: Measure of national economic health (misery INDEX) - that's a nice, timely answer (I think I'm going to be saying that any answer dealing with economic downturn is a "timely" answer for a long, long time)
- 39A: Come to a compromise (meet in the MIDDLE)
- 51A: "Call sometime" ("Give me a RING")
- 64A: Rhyming word game (hinky-PINKY)
I think HINKY PINKY was made more grating by the proximity of EENY (70A: Start of a counting-out rhyme). The whole bottom of the puzzle is threatening to devolve into baby talk. Some random website I found tells me that "A hinky-pinky is a clue, definition, or riddle, the answer to which is a pair of rhyming words." Example given - a Norseman on wheels is a "biking viking." Wow, what ... fun. Speaking of Norway, a double dose today - OSLO (32A: Norway's capital) and V-flavored OLAV (69A: Norway's patron saint). One other thematic pair: AJAR (9A: Not completely shut, as a door) and AGAPE (50D: Yawning or visibly astonished).
Not a big fan of UNPEG, INRE, CLEO, ASEC, or NEEDN'T. Like RAN IN (54D: Arrested), JAWED (10D: Chatted) and ROUE (31A: Don Juan type), though, honestly, I never saw that last one until just this second. That's what happens when you speed. Oh, and I just noticed that a garden decoration (GNOME - 14D: Garden statuette) intersects a gardening answer (GREEN THUMB), so that's nice.
- 1A: Event involving burning and looting (riot) - these often happen on summer days, or HOT ONEs (30D: Definitely a day for air-conditioning), which was reclued (thankfully) from [Real sidesplitter]. RIOTs are always easier to take when there are no MACHETEs (27A: Cane cutter) involved.
- 1D: Toupees, slangily (rugs) - Did Mr. MOONEY wear a toupee? (42D: Mr. _____ (Lucy's TV boss)). I have never seen more than an episode or two of "Here's Lucy" or "The Lucy Show" or whatever incarnation of Lucy sitcom MOONEY was on. No, it looks like Mr. MOONEY just had a somewhat receding hairline, unremarkable on a man his age.
- 22D: First of 12 popes with a religious-sounding name (Pius I) - I wonder if anyone will parse this as one word, PIUSI, and wonder what the hell kind of name that is.
- 18D: Spiral seashell (triton) - again, what are these words I've Never heard of doing in my Monday puzzle. Very weird. This one was easy enough to infer
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld