Monday, June 29, 2009
Constructor: Paula Gamache
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: Good / Better / Best — three 15-letter theme answers begin with those words, respectively
Word of the Day: MOTT the Hoople (46A: Rock's _____ the Hoople) — Mott the Hoople were a 1970s English rock band with strong R&B roots and dominant in the glam rock era of the early to mid 1970s. They are popularly known for the song "All the Young Dudes", written for them by David Bowie and appearing on their 1972 album of the same name.
A breezy Monday. Thought I was going to break 3 minutes, but dang, there are a lot of white squares. A very open grid for a Monday puzzle (only 32 black squares — compare to 40+ in a few recent puzzles). East and west felt particularly open, with their triple sixes helping the puzzle to avoid the normal 3x4 and 4x4 drudgery of the common early-week grid (filled with some very cool words and phrases). Didn't see the theme 'til the end, when I changed WELL to BEST in BEST KEPT SECRETS (wife made same initial error, as did, I'm betting, a lot of people). I think I am going to be forever limited in my quest for faster times by really terrible typing skills. I type very fast and very sloppily, thus defeating the purpose of being very fast. I would try to slow down, but, you know, OLD HABITS (4D: Things that die hard) ...
- 17A: Seven or eight hours, typically (GOOD night's sleep)
- 35A: Inventor's goal (BETTER mousetrap)
- 52A: They rarely see the light of day (BEST kept secrets) — this one threw me (slightly) both because of the WELL/BEST issue, and because I was sure the figure of speech "see the light of day" was going to be literal ... so, you know, maybe something to do with BATS or MOLES or VAMPIRES or I don't know what. But no — figure of speech was a figure of speech. Fancy that.
- 38A: 180-degree turns, in slang (uies) — none of the UIE v. UEY confusion today, as I had the back end before I saw the clue.
- 46D: Flat-topped Southwestern hills (mesas) — I mean this more as observation that complaint, but there seemed to be a Lot of plurals in the puzzle. Three times answers intersect at a terminal plural "S" (and twice more at a terminal "S" where one of the words involved isn't plural, i.e. PRIUS, KRIS, and OILS (clued as a verb). I thought constructors avoided plurals in that position if possible.
- 34D: Bravura performances (star turns) — should have included this in answers I love. Got it off the initial "S," which I also love.
- 48D: Old Pontiac muscle cars (GTOs) — wrote in GTEN, for some reason.
- 50D: Decorative needle case (Etui) — venerable!
- 53D: Yeller in the Yale Bowl (Eli) — venerabler!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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