TUESDAY, Feb. 24, 2008 - S. A. Anderson (1989 Bond Girl Bouvier / Professzor Rubik / Steely Dan's stellar seller / Slacker's bane)
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: Bird verbs - three theme answers (all phrased "_____ ONE'S _____") begin with verbs that are also bird names
Word of the Day: GORP (35D: Hiker's snack) - A mixture of high-energy foods, such as nuts and dried fruit, eaten as a snack.
Tuesday. More like a Monday. Birds are verbs. Believe I've seen similar theme before. Nothing new under sun, I guess. Theme density is really quite sparse - as sparse as I've seen in a good long while. Another 15 [whoops, 16! This grid is one square wider than your normal M-Sat. grid - not sure this weak theme warrants such shenanigans, but clearly I didn't notice, so maybe it's irrelevant] - starting over: another 16 might have made this more enjoyable. Or it might just have made it theme-ier.
- 21A: Strain to see over the top (CRANE one's neck)
- 41A: Eat humble pie (SWALLOW one's pride)
- 59A: Be a street peddler (HAWK one's wares)
Best answers of the day - the symmetrical pairing of WIGGLE ROOM (19A: Margin to maneuver) and PAPER TIGER (65A: Toothless enemy). Wonderful, interesting, dynamic answers.
Valiant attempts to make this puzzle more exciting than it is can be found in the aggressive rhyming in clues like 3D: Hummus scooper-upper (pita) and 66D: Steely Dan's stellar seller ("Aja"). One of the hits off of "AJA" - PEG!
- 17A: Ancient region with an architectural style named after it (Ionia) - highly desirable word for its voweliness. Along with AIOLI, one of the few five-letter words that are 80% vowels.
- 28A: G.P.S. offering (map) - clue signals abbrev. Boo. No fair. I had RTE.
- 69A: Norwegian coast feature (fjord) - with the nice OSLO pick-up (73A: Capital on a 69-Across).
- 5D: Land-use regulators (zoners) - ouchy. See also SSS (53A: Sound of bacon frying), which is worse than it might have been given its role in adding "S"s to the ends of three different words. Feels almost like cheating.
- 10D: Haberdashery accessory (tie clasp) - TIE CLIP wouldn't fit. What's the difference between a tie clip and a TIE CLASP. Turns out: nothing.
- 11D: Slacker's bane (work) - don't I know it.
- 14D: 1989 Bond girl Bouvier (Pam) - Mystery Answer of the day. Never heard of her. "Bouvier" is Marge Simpson's maiden name. You may need to know that some day.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld