Highly collectible illustrator — MONDAY, Jul. 27 2009 — College professor's mantra / 1944 Jean-Paul Sartre play
Monday, July 27, 2009
Constructor: Allan E. Parrish
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: Vanity puzzle — theme answers are all phrases that end with homophones of the constructor's last name
Word of the Day: OSAGE orange — n.
A dioecious spiny tree (Maclura pomifera) native to Arkansas and Texas and having pulpy, inedible, orangelike multiple fruit.
This took me a half-step longer than most Monday, due mainly to a boatload of old-timey proper nouns, some of which I had to use crosses to get. I think MAXFIELD PARRISH is kind of an odd Monday theme answer. He's famous, but ... well, I'm guessing he'll give some people trouble. My wife wanted MAXWELL PARRISH and ended up for a little bit with MAXWIELL PARRISH written in there (she had never heard of FRITZI, and, again, I doubt she is alone — people who read comics in the 60s and earlier, no problem; others ...). Wife also doesn't think PERISH and PARISH are homophones, but I told her we were going to shove those worms back in the can because that is the last conversation I want to have today. Neither of us knew what an OSAGE orange was, though I had heard of it (from puzzles) and so I pieced it together. We both agreed that CASPAR is a friendly ghost and we have no idea who this alleged wise man is (26D: One of the Wise Men). All of these potential little trouble spots are very close to one another, which raises the likelihood that people will struggle (again, relatively speaking — it's still a Monday puzzle). Brief look at the times on the NYT site suggests this was tougher than avg. I was faster than my fellow blogger, (non-OSAGE) Orange, on this puzzle, and that happens with fewer than 1% of puzzles, so something screwy was going on. Maybe Orange was solving drunk again. It happens.
- 17A: College professor's mantra (publish or PERISH)
- 38A: Highly collectible illustrator (Maxfield PARRISH)
- 59A: Lafayette or Orleans (Louisiana PARISH)
When ALI is the most modern thing about your puzzle, your puzzle is old. ("How old is it?"). It's so old, it thinks people who ice cakes are called GLAZERs (54A: Finisher of pottery of cakes). So old, it went to college with Adolph OCHS (13D: Adolph who was chief of The New York Times from 1896 to 1935) and saw "NO EXIT" when it first opened (24D: 1944 Jean-Paul Sartre play). So old, it has no idea who these "Matt Lauer" and "Meredith Vieira" whippersnappers are! (33D: Matt Lauer or Meredith Vieira for "Today") Etc.
What are the odds of COHOSTs both having three consecutive vowels in their names? Can't be good.
My favorite part about breaking this puzzle down last night was trying to explain to my wife why the clue on AWAIT was just fine (15A: Stand in a queue for, say). My example, which I began before thinking it through: "I stand in a queue for tacos ... I AWAIT tacos." "I AWAIT tacos" is a phrase I encourage everyone to use. I'm saving it as a possible title in case I ever write my memoirs (which would mainly involve my sitting at a desk, typing, but that's another story). At any rate, "I AWAIT tacos" would be a very, very odd way to answer the question, "hey, what are you standing in line for?" Oh, and "queue?" If you put @#$#ing "queue" in a clue, the answer had better be seriously and exclusively British. Wait, is AWAIT a Briticism? Further, and unrelatedly, why does "TIPPER" have a "?" in its clue (9D: One leaving cash on the table?). A TIPPER does, in fact, leave cash on the table, so ... ???
In conclusion, I loved AGE GAP (40D: Feature of a May-December romance) and GET SET (52A: Gird oneself). I also like the interrelated AWOLS (7D: Mil. truants) and RENEGADE (41D: Deserter). And, of course, it's really hard not to like DAIQUIRIs (5D: Rum and lime juice drink), on every level.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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