MONDAY, Jan. 19, 2009 - Tracey Snyder (1993 Aerosmith hit with the lyric "Love is sweet misery" / Ticket locale)
Monday, January 19, 2009
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: CHIPs - (52D: Word that can follow the ends of 17-, 27-, 43- and 57-Across)
Word of the day: LEU - A basic unit of currency in Romania; for the record, the plural is LEI, but for obvious reasons you will never see LEI clued this way
Yep, those are all CHIPs alright. Here's the one thing I don't understand about this puzzle - why the LEU / BAAED crossing didn't cause the constructor to go "Oh, hell no, I can't do that," and start the NE corner over. If LEU (22D: Romanian money) belongs in puzzles at all (and I'm not sure about it), it's as the lone bit of strained fill in an otherwise wonderful Thurs, Fri, Sat, or Sun puzzle. It's a word that you know only if a. you are Romanian, b. you work with international currency professionally, or c. you solve a lot of crosswords / play a lot of Scrabble. It's a valid word, but not here, and certainly not crossing the nearly equally desperate BAAED (25A: Bleated). In a grid almost entirely devoid of Scrabbly letters (no Zs, Qs, Xs, Js, or Vs - and just one "K," in a safe, doubly terminal position), I don't understand accepting LEU / BAAED as final answers. Now, if you needed LEU / BAAED to get, say, DUCKBLIND or WAVFILE, then sure, I'd understand - on another day of the week. Here, no. How about a new CHIP puzzle with, say, V, PAINT, COW, and ICE (or CORN if there are no phrases ending "V"), and this time, no LEI. I should say that BAAED is partially redeemed by the proximity of FLEECE (6D: Sheep's coat).
- 17A: "Splendor in the Grass" actress (Natalie Wood)
- 27A: Telecommuter's need (home computer) - is a laptop a "HOME COMPUTER?"
- 43A: Drink with a marshmallow (hot chocolate)
- 57A: Common remote control holder (couch potato) - not sure I understand "common" in this clue. Was there a survey done? Or is "common" a class thing?
I learned what STATORS are from crosswords, which tells you how handy I am with cars (42D: Fixed parts of motors). Here's something I like about this puzzle - the Aerosmith song "CRYIN'" (52A: 1993 Aerosmith hit with the lyric "Love is sweet misery") - especially nice crossing the etymologically related CRI (44D: Dernier _____ (latest fashion)). Or is crossing CRI and "CRYIN'" some kind of violation? Whatever, I enjoyed it. The video for this song was one of a series of Aerosmith videos featuring Alicia Silverstone. Her performances in said videos got her noticed by director Amy Heckerling and subsequently cast as the lead in the (great) movie "Clueless," a mid-90s adaptation of Austen's "Emma" set in a Beverly Hills high school.
A couple of clues I had trouble with - 11D: Ticket locale (speed trap). Does the ticket hang out there on his weekends? Locale? "Locale" and I have issues, generally. Then for some reason I stared at 58D: Long-distance number starter for a several second wondering what it could mean. Is "number" a song? How else can you "start" a "number?" Well, I found out. ONE. A valid answer, assuming your call originates in the U.S.
- 11A: Used a stool (sat) - I like that "stool" and "pigeon" (from 15A: Pigeon's perch -> LEDGE), are so close to each other in the clues. I also like that you can easily divine the words COCK and BLOCK from the jumble of letters at the center of the puzzle.
- 35A: Tampa Bay baseballer (Ray) - don't remind me. Actually, I like them. It's about time the AL East had some other contender besides the Red Sox and Yankees.
- 32D: Adopted son of Claudius (Nero) - I learn all kinds of things about NERO from doing crosswords. Also true of EERO.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of Crossworld