WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11, 2009 - R Silvestri (U follower / Irene's counterpart in Roman myth / Bit of a limerick / Sight from Taormina)
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: No-K - four different familiar phrases containing a word ending in "CK" have the "K" removed to create wacky new phrases, which are clued "?"-style
Word of the Day: ANAPEST - a metrical foot of three syllables the first two being unstressed and the last being stressed (as in Lord Byron's "and his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold") or the first two being short and the last being long (as in classical prosody); a trisyllabic rising cadence
The opposite of an ANAPEST (i.e. stressed, unstressed, unstressed, or long, short, short) is a DACTYL, FYI
Solving time (on paper): 7:20
Wow, it's a good thing I'm getting used to seeing my times for paper-solving now (in preparation for the tournament in two+ weeks) - they're running, on average, a good minute behind my AcrossLite / applet times. I don't think I was aware of how significant the disparity would be. No matter. The real key to tournament solving (for the vast majority of participants) is not to worry about time at all. Keep moving forward and focus on accuracy. Today, accuracy was nearly compromised when I ended up at my final square: the KEMAL (52D: _____ Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey) / ELY (60A: English cathedral city) crossing. I'm sure I've seen both (particularly the latter) before, but intersecting at a vowel as they do here, they both may as well have been Klingon. Nothing I put in the space felt right, and I finally went with "E" because out of all my options, ELY was the least silly, most plausible-sounding place name.
I'm not sure how I feel about a theme where Ks are taken away. I normally like the puzzle to be driving in the opposite direction. There are still three Ks left in this puzzle, but somehow that's small consolation.
I have one major criticism of the theme, specifically of the clue/answer at 62A: Bruin, Golden Bear or Wildcat? (PAC animal): as far as college athletics goes, PAC is not a thing. There is the PAC-10, but there is no PAC. No one says "PAC." Never. It's the PAC-10. The official website says so. A PAC is a Political Action Committee. It is true that the athletic conferecnce in question is called the Pacific Athletic Conference, and you would think that that then entitles you to call it "PAC." But no. It's PAC-10. It really is.
- 17A: Comment at the reptile exhibition? ("What a croc!")
- 10D: Command to a photog? ("Take your pic!")
- 24D: Horse vet? (Doc of the bay) - by far the best of the bunch
- 62A: Bruin, Golden Bear or Wildcat? (PAC animal)
- 9A: Parties where dresses are rarely seen (stags) - "Rarely," HA ha. "But sometimes..."
- 65A: Rumble in the Jungle victor (Ali) - I've plugged it before, but the documentary film about this fight, "When We Were Kings," is really worth watching.
- 9D: Non-vector (scalar) - the non-vector in the Rumble in the Jungle was George Foreman.
- 69A: Conger catcher (eeler) - Does the puzzle have some deal with the EELERS' Union? It seems like the only place I've ever even seen the alleged profession of EELER mentioned is in the grid. Every other week.
- 30D: Prince of opera (Igor) - I always forget this opera (Borodin's "Prince Igor"). Little matter, as I never even saw this clue today.
- 40D: U follower (Thant) - former Secretary-General of the U.N. Did not know (til just now) that THANT was his only name, and that "U" is simply an honorific in Burmese, roughly equivalent to "Mister." I wonder if anyone got very bold and entered VWXYZ for this clue.
- 48D: Sight from Taormina (Etna) - no idea what "Taormina" is, which I suspect was the point.
- 56D: Tiger Beat cover subject (idol) - I can't believe they still publish Tiger Beat. It's sooooooo Shaun Cassidy-era.
- 62D: Irene's counterpart in Roman myth (Pax) - as in the Pax Romana. It means "peace."
Many thanks to everyone who helped me fix the "objectionable content" flag problem yesterday, and to everyone who simply expressed sympathy or support. Turns out I have some very well-connected readers (including several inside of Google) and the problem was eliminated with relative speed. I even got to talk about John Lennon's penis in both of my classes - win win!
Please don't flag me for "penis."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld