MONDAY, Feb. 16, 2009 - D Kwong (Breakfast brand since 1928 / Ex-Spice Girl Halliwell / Funnyman Philips / Portuguese colony until 1999)
Monday, February 16, 2009
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: RICE KRISPIES (55A: Breakfast brand since 1928 that hints at the starts of 20-, 33- and 43-Across) - first three theme answers start with SNAP, CRACKLE, and POP, respectively
Word of the Day: CRACKLEWARE - Glazed pottery or glassware bearing a decorative surface network of fine cracks (answers.com)
I TORE (69A: Ripped) through this puzzle in 3:42 on paper, but in the subsequent seconds, as I checked it over, I noted that I had BOOM where BLAM was supposed to go (10A: "Kapow!"). "KAPOW!" indeed. Under tournament conditions I would likely have been fine, in that I would have used the 18 seconds remaining in my fourth minute (in tournament timing, it's minutes, not seconds, that count) to scan the puzzle for errors - the BOOM/BLAM one turned up pretty quickly. But still - if I'd taken my own advice and not focused on speed, I would never have made the error in the first place. The only way BOOM goes in there is if you don't bother to check the crosses at all. So, again, worry about accuracy, not time. And then, as a prophylactic measure, Check Your Work.
Today's puzzle - I feel as if I've seen this theme before, possibly multiple times, but the cruciverb.com database turns up only one example of RICEKRISPIES as an answer, so maybe I'm wrong. I've barely heard of CRACKLEWARE (33A: Some glazed pottery), but it's plenty valid. As for the others: I wrote in SNAP JUDGMENT instead of SNAP DECISION at first (20A: What a person in an emergency might have to make) , and though I caught the error only seconds later, I still clearly lost time up there trying to get everything cleaned up. The clue on POP MUSICIAN (43A: Any of the Jonas Brothers, e.g.) is not the one I would have chosen, but it's accurate enough. They were on SNL this past Saturday, along with Alec Baldwin, who, in one skit, played the "oldest Jonas Brother, Gary." It was pretty funny, and made me dislike the Jonas Brothers slightly less.
Lots of brand names in the puzzle. Today's shopping cart includes:
- RICE KRISPIES
- IMAC (6D: Apple computer)
- COKE (5D: Pepsi alternative)
- QTIP (59A: Unilever swab)
- ALPO (29D: Dog food brand)
- IAMS (44D: Dog food brand)
- LORNA Doone cookies (2D)
Also a good day for authors ...
- ROTH (39A: Philip who wrote "Goodbye, Columbus")
- DANTE (45A: "Divine Comedy" writer)
- BRONTE (10D: Novelist Emily or Charlotte)
- ELIOT (62A: Poet T.S. _____)
... funnymen ...
- EMO (42A: Funnyman Philips)
- LENO (63A: Funnyman Jay)
... and women whose names rhyme with "scary"
- PERI (43D: Gilpin of "Frasier")
- GERI (7D: Ex-Spice Girl Halliwell)
I went looking for TERI Garr, KERI Hilson, and JERI Ryan, but no luck. Lastly, where trends are concerned, there were slightly more partials than I like to see (i.e. more than one). ON EARTH at least has the virtue of sounding somewhat momentous (48A: Lord's Prayer phrase before "as it is in heaven"). IT AS (58D: "Take _____ a sign") and IS ONE (54D: "Saying _____ thing, doing ..."), on the other hand, seem, on the surface, to be the kind of made-up nonsense not warranted by the simplicity of the grid. Those partials are both in basic 4x5 sections of the grid, relatively uncompromised by the pre-existing fill of the theme answer. I have a hard time believing that at least one of those partials couldn't have been done away with.
- 15A: Zee : English :: _____ : Greek (Omega) - I was reading "Revelation" last night. This word is in there a lot.
- 19A: Animals that might hear "gee" and "haw" (oxen) - had the "O," so, easy.
- 23A: Portuguese colony until 1999 (Macao) - seems more of a later-week answer, but I've been thrown by it before, so no problems today.
- 66A: School where Aldous Huxley taught George Orwell (Eton) - a great clue for a common answer. And hey, look, two more authors to add to the mix.
- 4D: Pirate costume feature (eye patch) - maybe my favorite answer of the day
- 36D: Together, to Toscanini (a due) - I kept reading (and typing, just now) "in Toscanini," like he's a place name. In this clue we see, once again, the puzzle's undying love for alliteration.
- 41D: Rare birth occurrence (octuplet) - APU has OCTUPLETs.
- 46D: La Brea attraction (tar pit) - lived in southern California for years and never went to the La Brea TAR PITs. They sound cool, like an obstacle in an adventure video game, but I'm guessing the reality is somewhat less exciting.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld