THURSDAY, Mar. 12, 2009 - D Chapus (Earthen pots for liquids / Provincial capital in NW Spain / Company started in 1946 at Detroit Miami airports)
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: PED XING (39A: Street sign ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme) - a rebus puzzle with four "PED" squares scattered about the grid
Word of the Day: CRUSE - A small earthenware container, such as a pot or jar, for holding liquids.
This felt easy, but my time suggests it's probably closer to medium difficulty, so I split the difference. Uncovered the theme right away, or nearly so. Went ACCUSE (1D: Point a finger at, say) to UPSIDES (20A: Positive aspects) to EDS. (18D: Mad workers, for short) (Mad = magazine = old trick), back to EPEE then COOP UP (2D: Confine) and NAUSEE (3D: Sartre novel, with "La") and SUETS (23A: Hard fats). Realized there was an issue of some sort at 4D: Hastens (exPEDites), took one look at 17A: Classic Cadillacs (CouPE De Villes), and knew exactly what the issue was. From there, it was just a matter of remembering, as I filled the grid, that any problems I was having might be solved by a PED. Sadly, I half forgot my own advice at the end. Or, rather ... the real problem was that I was solving in AcrossLite, and on rebuses I only ever put in the first letter of whatever letter set is supposed to be crammed in there. So I knew that the "P" in was supposed to stand for "PED" in CAPED CRUSADER (60A: Batman, with "The"), but I did not make the adjustment in thinking when reading the down cross, 53D: Prepared, as a report (tyPED up), and so entered TYPED. I did not pick a good place in the grid to make this mistake; that southern portion is by far the iffiest, ugliest section in the whole thing. SMARM pushes things slightly (52D: Ingratiating behavior), and then CRUSES creates a full-scale ughfest. Throw in my unfathomable hesitation at whether the "turn-of-the-century year" at 56D: Turn-of-the-century year in King John's reign (MCCI) would end in C or I (I was one of those annoying jerks saying "the new millennium hasn't Started Yet!" on Jan. 1, 2000), and you have a huge chunk of my solving time spent right there in the puzzle's basement.
- SharPEDged (11D: Like a saber)
- SPED by (25A: Passed quickly)
- TaPEDelays (38D: Features of many Olympic broadcasts)
- BiPEDal (44A: Like humans and ostriches) - would have been nice to avoid the foot meaning of "PED" entirely in this puzzle, but oh well
- CaPED Crusader
- TyPED up
- 14A: Certain cable, informally (co-ax) - oh come on. The word is COAX, and there are infinite good clues, hard and easy, available for your cluing pleasure
- 27A: Item of sports equipment approximately 43" long (epee) - damn, that's long-seeming.
- 30A: "Mr." whose first name is Quincy (Magoo) - 60% vowels! I was going to remark that he seems to be showing up a lot, but at 60% vowels, this is no surprise.
- 6D: Company started in 1946 at the Detroit and Miami airports (Avis) - no wonder they "try harder." Maybe if they'd started in L.A., N.Y., Chicago, etc., they wouldn't have been #2 for so long.
- 24D: Companion of Panza (Quixote) - no trouble uncovering this "Q"; 24A: Ones making snap decisions? (QBs) was easy too
- 28D: Tiger or Twin, briefly (AL'er) - less common than NL'ER, probably because you can make more stuff out of AL-- than you can out of NL--.
- 34D: British author Bagnold (Enid) - one of the many difficulty levels of ENID. Oklahoma is lower. Blyton, slightly higher. Unless you're British. If you're British, your difficulty levels may vary. Drastically.
- 50D: Frank who wrote "The Pit," 1903 (Norris) - I associate him with Upton Sinclair ... that turn-of-the-century "Workers are being crushed by Industry" sensibility. I think one of Norris's stories features a guy getting buried alive in a grain silo. Metaphor! For something!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld