MONDAY, Dec. 15, 2008 - Susan Gelfand (Essayist Charles's favorite entree? / Hollywood's Dennis or Randy / QB's cry after a string of numbers)
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: food names - last names of famous people used as first word in familiar food names
Kwik Monday write-up. I'm full of French Onion soup and chocolate coconut cookies and coffee, so I'm feeling very satisfied and mildly sleepy. Thankfully, the puzzle was a complete breeze, as Mondays generally are. This puzzle has a few little lumps - like plural as well as singular theme answers. I guess the fact that the plurals are symmetrical helps a bit. Also, I thought the puzzle was going to be famous people desserts ... but then no. Kind of a let down not to have more consistency. The theme seems very shallow, very loose. The fill in the N and NW is kind of painful. APER + TERI + LAIC = ugh; not too fond of plural UVEAS; and ELUL!? I would have gone for EDUC or ... just rewritten it. ELUL is bygone crosswordese. Not really Monday appropriate. But most of the rest of the fill is quite solid, actually, and I sort of like QUENCH/QUAID (41A: Hollywood's Dennis or Randy), DOODAD, and SEANCE (46A: Activity in a darkened room - one letter away from being an anagram of one of its crosses, CEASES).
- 18A: Poet Ezra's favorite desserts? (Pound cakes)
- 4D: Writer Anne's favorite dessert? (Rice pudding)
- 27D: Writer Jack's favorite entree? (London broil)
- 62A: Essayist Charles's favorite entree? (Lamb shanks)
I have some issues about two sports calls referenced in this puzzle. The first is "yer out" (44A: Officials who cry "Yer out!"). It was my understanding that umps are taught to cry "He's out." I went searching for where I might have gotten that info from, and ended up at an SI article that confirms what I thought. This is not to say that some umpires don't, or haven't, cried "yer out," but this article makes it sound substandard. Further, do real QBs cry "hike?" Isn't that too obvious a tip to the defense? (11D: QB's cry after a string of numbers)
- 23A: It transcends sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch (ESP) - it also DOESN'T EXIST. Need an "in theory" here. Although ... last night at dinner I was playing Hangman with my daughter and I wrote out 9 blank spaces and had not yet finished drawing the gallows when she said, "I'm going to guess CHOCOLATE" ... and she was right. It was spooooky. We had purchased chocolate earlier in the evening, but still, we had done Lots of stuff that day. Then on the very next word she stared at KNI-E in utter bewilderment as to what it might be. Not even a guess. My wife and I were encouraging her to think, to look at the word, etc., all the while gesturing with our knives.
- 42A: Magician Henning (Doug) - ouch. So many other, more likable DOUGs. I prefer E. FRESH, but there are many less obscure than that.
- 52A: Attempt at getting a tan (sunbath) - SUNBATHE is a verb I know. SUNBATH seems a little odder.
- 2D: War's opposite (peace) - Pinko hippie peacenik puzzle also contains DOVE (21D: Antiwar advocate). This is what it sounds like when DOVEs cry:
- 33D: Exercise with crossed legs (yoga) - I take yoga from a fabulous instructor and our legs are "crossed" for only a small portion of the practice. This is kind of an ignorant / cliche clue. You don't spend the whole time in lotus position saying "Om." Why not name styles or something? Hatha and Bikram are certainly popular enough. Or you could talk about country of origin? The fact that it's done on mats? Etc.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld