Missouri city whose name means broken heart – FRIDAY, Jul. 10 2009 — Old bus maker / Story-filled magazine since 1922 / Housekeeper player on Benson
Friday, July 10, 2009
Constructor: Joe Krozel
Relative difficulty: Challenging
THEME: Broken-Hearted — grid shaped like a heart with a crack in it features answer CREVE / COEUR (7A: With 9-Across, Missouri city whose name means "broken heart") "broken" in two, as well as the magazine TRUE CONFESSIONS (I think) (44A: Story-filled magazine since 1922), which has featured various stories of broken-heartedness over the years. Maybe "PREMARITAL relations" fits in here somewhere too ... (30A: Like some relations), along with ROMANCERS (24D: Beaus)
Word of the Day: ROSARIO (48A: Argentine port on the Paraná) — Rosario is the largest city in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina. It is located 300 km (187 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires, on the western shore of the Paraná River and has 1,025,000 residents as of the 2001 census [INDEC]. It's the third most important city in Argentina by its population (908.163 inhabitant - 2001 census) because of the growing and important metropolitan area. It also retains the classical and ancient architecture in some residences, houses and public buildings. (wikipedia) [add this to the "cities with more than a million people that I've never heard of" list]
First thing I thought when I saw the grid: "Oh ... broken heart. Cute." Pulled CREVE COEUR from god knows where (after weirdly entertaining SACRE COEUR), and then set to work on the NW. Eventually circled the grid in fairly methodical counterclockwise fashion from THERE (22D: "All done!"), ending up in the far NE, which, sadly, was the ugliest possible place to stop. MOLS? (4D: Compound fractions: Abbr.) REO and GTO practically touching each other, and with insane clues (5D: Old bus maker / 17A: The Monkeemobile, e.g.)? Fail. Other parts of this puzzle were more lovely. I thought the whole right atrium (that's the NW, right?) was very impressive. The "E" in OVERSHOE (3D: Rubber) was my last letter up there, and I needed Every Letter. Embarrassing ("OVERSHOT?"). After the NW, there were fewer and fewer lovelier parts as I progressed through the puzzle. The 15s are nice answers, though adding waterboarding (1D: Torturous, perhaps => CRUEL AND UNUSUAL) to a puzzle that already has Hitler (19A: Greeting with a salute => HEIL) and IMUS (36A: Radio figure who co-wrote "Two Guys Four Corners") just seemed, well, CRUEL AND UNUSUAL. Am I supposed to know what "Two Guys Four Corners" is?
This seems to have all the typical pluses and minuses of a showy grid. Impressive to look at, but rough around the edges, fill-wise. An Argentine port, the loathsome ONE / A CAT (seen here in its super-ugly alt-spelling, 45D: With 41-Down, quaint sandlot game), ESTOP, ESSE, the "Benson" actress in rarely seen last-name form (as INGA she's pretty common) (50A: Housekeeper player on "Benson") ... lots of PRE- and RE- words. It could have been much worse, though, and I liked this puzzle somewhat better than I have liked previous stunt grids. If only I could lop off that left atrium and replace it with a baboon heart or something, I think I'd be close to satisfied.
- 11A: Composition of some old crowns (laurels) — appropriate. LAURELS for the best section of the puzzle.
- 7D: Intriguing bands (cabals) — very nice cluing. Misdirective and accurate at the same time.
- 13A: 1941 #1 hit for Tommy Dorsey ("Dolores") — part of the NE disaster. I somehow managed to guess it, but couldn't hum it for you to save my life ... til now!
- 18A: Former British mandate (Palestine) — turned out great.
- 38A: Like bellwethers (ovine) — I had OMENS, ha ha.
- 19D: It has departments named Nord, Sud and Ouest (Haiti) — cool. I did not know that. I'm surprised HAITI isn't in the grid more, what with all those vowels.
- 39D: _____ Games (quadrennial event) (Asian) — that's one way to clue ASIAN, I guess. Not familiar to me, but highly inferrable.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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