THURSDAY, Nov. 6, 2008- Jeremy Newton ("Bad Girl" singer / Winged mammoth / Actor known as the King of Cool)
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: SUIT (1A: What the 13 circled things in this puzzle constitute) - rebus puzzle where cards running ACE through KING are inserted into individual circled squares throughout the grid
"Brilliant concept, clunky execution." That is what I have scrawled atop my copy of this puzzle. Got the theme fairly early with IN3D and MP3PLAYERS, which allowed me to uncover the theme-revealing SUIT. The clunkiness comes from the inconsistency with which numbers are used. So "3" is a "3," but "9" is the letter string "NINE" in CANINE, even though there's nothing numerical about the word (though "9" *is* used numerically in the cross, 9 TO 5). Lastly theres the fact that I have to read the "8" and "2" as "eighty" and "twenty," respectively, in the answers "86IT" and WOR[KING]247. There's no pattern to the rebus squares that I can see. . . It's an admirable feat, this puzzle, but something about the looseness of the rebus grated. Then there's the non-theme fill, most of which was fine, but some of which, dear god. LAYSOVER (6D: Breaks up flights). "When United LAYS OVER its customers ..." I'm just having trouble hearing the phrase in my head. I know what a LAYOVER is. I think I have heard people say "I got LAID OVER" ... maybe. But phrased with the airline as the subject of the verb ... no. Or is it intransitive, like "he'll be home after he LAYS OVER in Hong Kong?" Ugh. I was looking for an answer that had to do with stairs.
- 3D: Having depth (in3d)
- 16A: Devices for music lovers (mp3players)
- 10A: Pound delivery (ca9) - [groan] - "oh look, a litter of canines!" I doubt it.
- 12D: Like many office jobs (9 to 5)
- 21A: A.L. or N.L. Division Series format (best of 5)
- 25A: Like squads in arena football (8man) - [blank]MAN - thanks for the fair shot at the answer! Nobody cares about arena football!
- 25D: "Scratch that!" ("86 it!")
- 32A: Something that may hold up a train? (6 shooter)
- 38A: Never idle (wor [KING] 247)
- 24D: Spot (par [KING] sp [ACE]) - my favorite theme answer of the lot
- 39D: Juvenile, in horse racing (2 year old)
- 35D: Some engines (V4s)
- 22D: Bargain hunter's lure (sale7t) - by far the hardest of these answers to turn up
- 48A: Full coverage? (surf [ACE] area)
- 54D: "Through the Looking Glass" antagonist (Red [QUEEN])
- 66A: Actor known as the King of Cool (Mc [QUEEN]) - love the king/queen interplay here
- 68A: Barefaced (pa10t)
- 57D: No-good (rot10)
- 62D: Hike ([JACK] up)
- 60A: "Bad Girl" singer (La Toya [JACK]son) - I prefer a different "Bad Girl"...
There were some real zingers in this puzzle - stuff that I knocked me right off track. I had to convince myself that SAML could be an answer (1D: _____ Adams, signature on the Declaration of Independence). Pathological fear of the letter combo "UE"? Oh well, he makes a decent beer, so it's cool. The answer that stumped me more than any other was 46D: Building with walls for a ceiling (A-frame). Before going ahead and getting crosses, I sat there and tried to break the code. Couldn't get myself out of cube-thought. Entertained AVIARY, briefly (?). I was proud to come up with MOSEL (9D: Wine region where Riesling is made), mostly because I'm Terrible at wine regions that aren't ASTI or NAPA. Also happy to decode 8D: Winged mammoth (airbus) - brain of course went to dinosaurs (via woolly mammoth???), but then figured the "mammoth" didn't have to be alive. Minor quibble on 33D: Says "My bad!" (owns up). . . well, OK, not a quibble. Just an observation that "OWNS UP" doesn't do well as a stand-alone phrase. He fessed up. OK. He owned up ... to? What year was it the last time someone called another human being a "yo-yo" (20A: Yo-yo => ASS)? Probably the same year people last TOGged out??? (34D: Deck (out)). Don't you TOG *up*? Lastly in the complaint department, there were theme squares in all the expected long Across answers but one (UNPOPULAR - 23A: Off the charts?), adding to the messy, unbalanced feel of the whole grid.
- 49D: Fill a flat again? (relet) - clever
- 17D: Airline to Chile (LAN) - I can never remember this airline. Apparently there were multiple explanations for what the letters "LAN" stand for, but the airline says it's "no longer" an abbreviation.
- 45A: Dashed figs. (SSNs) - good clue; not obvious
- 56A: U.R.L. ender (org) - always gotta wait for crosses with a clue like this.
- 64A: Actor Hirsch of "Into the Wild" (Emile) - still haven't seen this. I used to see movies. Not sure what happened.
- 36D: Big ring stone, slangily (rock) - slangily! Some more Rock (probably not suitable for work):
- 58D: Airborne irritant (gnat) - another pesky, head-fakey clue. If something flies of its own volition, is it truly "airborne?" I guess so. I just think of allergens and particles of pollution when I see "airborne."
- 27D: Whoops at sea (ahoys) - again with the tricksiness. Not "whoops" as in "my bad," but "whoops" as in "loud noises," I guess.
It's a warm day here, so no need for my SCRAPER this morning (52A: Tool for a driver or painter). Coffee time.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld