WEDNESDAY, Jul. 8 2009 — Big name in women's apparel since 1949 / Batcave figure / Style of truck with vertical front / Ants archaically
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Constructor: Tim Wescott
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Magic Squares — Completed puzzle features nine magic squares (square-shaped arrangements of letters where the sequential Across words and Down words are identical). See "Note: When completed, this puzzle grid will contain an unusual feature that appears nine times. Can you find it?"
Word of the Day: EMMETS (22A: Ants, archaically) — n. Archaic.
[Middle English emete, from Old English æmete.] (answers.com)
Short write-up today. Not a lot to say about this one. There are nine magic squares, of differing sizes, arranged (with rotational symmetry) throughout the grid. There they are. I'm sure this was challenging to construct and probably deserves some applause. I solved it quickly and had no idea what the "theme" was — just this vague sense that a lot of the intersecting words seemed a lot alike. I did notice that ABOVE intersected ABOVE in the middle of the grid, but didn't stop to ponder why that was important. When I finished and saw the note, I'm pretty sure I said some version of "ugh" out loud. I'm solving a crossword here, not playing Word Find or looking for Waldo.
Saw a lot of word crosses (e.g. ABOVE/ABOVE, OPE/OPE) and thought that was the deal, but there were too many of those. Then saw that 2 TREES and 2 HEARTS formed a square at the middle of the puzzle. Finding the other squares was easy.
- NW: ROB x BEE
- N: BING x GATE
- NE: CRAM x METS
- W: CUD x DEN
- Ctr: HEART x TREES
- E: WES x SAL (like this one 'cause it's all names — party of three)
- SW: CHAS x SHED (this one's weird because all SW-to-NE lines parallel to and including the diagonal ("SSSS") are made up of just a single letter)
- S: RUMP x PRAY
- SE: ROE x EEN
- 36A: Hindu god (Deva) — didn't know this. See (unrelated and differently pronounced) "Diva" at 2D: Diva's workplace (opera house).
- 38A: Style of truck with a vertical front (cab over) — another unknown.
- 41A: "101 _____ for a Dead Cat" (1981 best seller) ("Uses") — possibly the best clue for USES I've ever seen.
- 45A: 1978 Yankees hero Bucky (Dent) — I'd have gone with [Gotham D.A. Harvey] here, but I'm a Sox fan, and a Batman fan, so no surprise there. Would have made a nice tie-in with 1D: Batcave figure (Robin).
- 55A: Bacardi concoction, perhaps (rum punch) — I'd have gone with the Elmore Leonard novel of the same name. "Bacardi" makes RUM part too easy.
- 5D: "Aha!" elicitor (idea) — I had TADA. HA ha.
- 9D: Dorky sort (schmo) — "Dork" and "SCHMO" aren't in same universe to me. "Dork" skews toward "nerd," where "SCHMO" skews toward "any schlubby nobody you might see on the street, i.e. Joe SCHMO."
- 12D: Mine opening (adit) — my very favorite bit of crosswordese. One of the first that I collected and remembered in the early 90s when I started solving. Thanks, Eugene T. Maleska.
- 24D: Sneak peek, informally (prevue) — when you just can't bring yourself to write that seventh letter.
- 31D: Louisiana city named for the fifth U.S. president (Wes T. Monroe)
- 32D: Big name in women's apparel since 1949 (Evan Picone) — here's what's troubling me this morning: How Did I Know This?
- 54D: Arthur who wrote "A Hard Road to Glory" (Ashe) — I actually said out loud to my wife last night "Who's Arthur ASHE?" (thinking he was a writer as opposed to the tennis player). Wife: "You know who Arthur ASHE is, honey."
- 56D: Super, slangily (Uber) — on crossover of word from German to English, see here. For the T-Pain album "UBER" ... you'll have to wait 'til November. (T-PAIN is a very famous rapper whose name will eventually appear in a puzzle — his songs are characterized by heavy use of Auto-Tune to give his voice an aggressively digitally altered sound). [if you are easily offended, there is a good chance there's something you won't like in this video, so don't hit "Play"]
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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