Diamond Head locale — TUESDAY, Aug. 18 2009 — Candy bar with maraschinos / Popular Fanta-like soda / Masthead contents briefly
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Constructor: Tony Orbach
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: fruits acted upon in some way by verbs? — five theme answers are edible / potable items whose names begin with fruits and end with what I think are words that can be recipe directives (?)
Word of the Day: CHERRY MASH (51A: Candy bar with maraschinos) —
The Cherry Mash was formulated in 1918 by Dr. George Washington Chase's son, Ernest. The candy consisted of a quarter-pound mound of chopped roasted peanuts, blended with chocolate coating over a smooth cherry fondant center. The candy bar was originally called Cherry Chase, and then Cherry Chaser, before becoming known as Cherry Mash.Today, Cherry Mash remains the Chase Candy Company's best-selling product. It is produced in a factory in Saint Joseph, Missouri and can be found throughout the Midwest in most grocery and convenience stores and mass-merchandise outlets. To this day, Cherry Mash continues to be the best-selling cherry candy bar in the United States according to the Chase Candy website (wikipedia)
I almost always enjoy Tony Orbach's puzzles, but often find myself just not *quite* on his wavelength, for whatever reason. Today was no exception. Love the relative openness of the Tuesday grid, with its big NE and SW corners and superlong Downs (as long as or longer than any theme answer). Just noticed that the grid has been expanded to 16x15 to accommodate a 12-letter central answer. But the theme never cohered as I was solving, and even when I was done, I had trouble figuring out what the organizing principle was. It was only in considering other potential apple answers (FRITTER, STRUDEL ...) that I noticed the verbal similarity of all the second words in the theme answers phrases. I was completely distracted by the fact that 4 were edible and 1 potable, 4 were desserts and 1 ... wasn't. Throw in the fact that I've never in my life heard of or seen CHERRY MASH (despite living in the "midwestern U.S." for eight years), and you've got a theme that's just not to my, er, taste.
- 17A: Fountain treat (banana split)
- 27A: Tangy pie filler (lemon cream)
- 37A: Relative of a certain cobbler (apple crumble) — "certain?" Would that "certain cobbler" be ... an APPLE cobbler? I'm confused. Clearly.
- 51A: Candy bar with maraschinos (Cherry Mash)
- 59A: Popular Fanta-like soda (Orange Crush) — "Fanta-like?"
Thought puzzle was going to be set-a-speed-record easy after the Downs in the NW went 1, 2, 3, 4 and that whole NW section was done lickety SPLIT. But I couldn't close the deal on I CAN SO (21A: "Just watch me!"), mainly because the clue sounds like something you'd say after the answer, not an equivalent of the answer. So movement into the NE was slowed down. Regrouped and pushed my way down through the grid, but ended up with a very plausible wrong answer at 50A: A little scared. SHOOK UP has a surprising number of letters in common with SPOOKED it turns out, and fixing that error took some doing. Only other issue was my complete ignorance of CHERRY MASH.
- 36A: Abbr. on an envelope (ATTN) — ATTN: everyone. You must watch this video. A feast for your RETINA (10D: Eye part) and your ear.
- 58A: Vermeer's "Woman With a _____" ("Lute") — had -TE and briefly considered KITE.
- 68A: Robert Ludlum hero searching for his identity (Bourne) — never seen any of the recent BOURNE movies, though they look kind of appealing. I associate Ludlum with "Authors My Dad Would Read on Vacation for 15 Minutes Before Falling Asleep." I'm sure LUDLUM's a fine writer, my dad is just a notorious read-sleeper (as am I, given half a chance).
- 55A: Show deep respect (to) (kowtow) — spelled it COWTOW on first pass.
- 31D: Archipelago unit: Abbr. (isl.) — What is the difference between "island" and "isle?" (not much — def. of "isle" is "island, esp. a small one").
- 11D: Rib-eye alternatives (T-bone steaks) — triumph of the day: got this off just the "B." A nice answer.
- 25D: Scientist who experienced a great fall? (Isaac Newton) — APPLE intersects his name, so put a check in the "brilliant" column. Also, a clue about a great fall, where the answer intersects ICARUS!? (34A: He flew too close to the sun, in myth) Two checks.
- 26D: Maryland squad (Terps) — the Terrapins of the U. of Maryland.
- 29D: Diamond Head locale (Oahu) — Under different circumstances, this answer might cause me to have Hawaii dreams, but it's the hottest @#$#ing night of the year and I'm awake at 2:19am writing this blog, so hot places are not on my list of fantasy destinations at the moment. I would tell you the Real (primary) reason I'm up at (now) 2:20, but it's so disgusting that I can't bring myself to write it down. I'll just say it involves Yet Another sick animal (the second in three days, and this is EXCLUDING my dog who was attacked by a pit bull and remains in a cone).
- 40D: Root beer float with chocolate ice cream (brown cow) — a very desserty puzzle, all in all.
- 46D: Masthead contents, briefly (eds.) — I just couldn't make sense of "contents" for some reason. I knew that the "masthead" contains the names of EDS., but I'd never thought of EDS. as "contents" (the way news, features, puzzles, etc, are "contents").
I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to get back to sleep, but I'm going to try. See you later.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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