Shield border — WEDNESDAY, Aug. 12 2009 — Novel of 1851 / Warhol associate Sedgwick / Eponymous French physicist / Onetime Asiatic nomads
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Constructors: Peter A. Collins and Joe Krozel
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: MOBY-DICK (9A: With 59-Across, novel of 1851) — with appearances by GREAT WHITE WHALE (6D: 9- & 59-Across), CAPTAIN AHAB (31A: Character in 9- & 59-Across) and the first line of "MOBY-DICK" ("Call me Ishmael"), appearing on a SLANT from the NW to the SE corner (54A: Incline (and a hint to the location in this completed puzzle of the first line of 9- & 59- Across))
Word of the Day: ORLE (15A: Shield border) — 1.(Her.) A bearing, in the form of a fillet, round the shield, within, but at some distance from, the border. (freedictionary.com)
It's 1:24 a.m. and I'm jetlagged, having traveled all day back from Colorado. I should be wiped out — passed out, face down, on my bed with my wounded by recovering nicely dog. But wrestling with my internet connection for half an hour (it's back now, clearly) has me well and truly awake, and so I'm writing. I won't write much, for fear of utter incoherence and/or offensiveness I might regret in the morning.
And now, an epistolary interlude:
Dear NYT puzzle website person,
Get the @#$#ing AcrossLite version up by 10pm. I was traveling all day today, so maybe there was a memo I missed explaining this lateness, but this is the second night in a row when the puzzle was not available for download when it was supposed to be (10pm). I tried at 1 am. No dice. I pay for my puzzle to be there at 10pm. Get it there at 10pm. (I ended up downloading a bootleg copy from crosswordfiend.)
This puzzle must have begun with the rather serendipitous discovery that GREAT WHITE WHALE, CAPTAIN AHAB, and "Call me Ishmael" are all phrases the have "I" as their central letter. Was that enough to build a puzzle around? I guess. Wish there was something SLANT-related to make the prominence of the word SLANT in the cluing make sense. Wish I hadn't MOIRES (9D: Shimmery fabrics) and ORLE (15A: Shield border) and YESSED (12D: Assented) (!?) at all, let alone all crammed in the same corner. No HATRED for this one (44A: "_____ is gained as much by good works as by evil"). Just a shrug and a yawn — but keep in mind, I am vERY vERY tired (22A: Fish tail?).
- 18A: Head of the Egyptian god Thoth (ibis) — part of the NE corner, which was for me, by far, the thorniest.
- 21A: Sig Ep and others (frats) — puzzle seems to be really enjoying the Greek life of late. That, and TETR (33D: Numerical prefix with oxide).
- 25A: Stylize anew, as a car seat (retrim) — another unfortunate entry. "Car seat" means only "child seat" to me, and I wondered (possibly aloud) by anyone would trick out a child seat.
- 29A: Warhol associate _____ Sedgwick (Edie) — see also Brickell and Falco. I always think this Warholian EDIE is an EVIE.
- 30A: Israel's Barak and Olmert (Ehuds) — that's right, plural.
- 50A: Simon Says players, say (apers) — I like to imagine that the game went horribly wrong, inspiring 4A: Playground shout ("Fight!").
- 57A: Lumberjack competition (roleo) — Roleo, roleo, wherefore art thou roleo? Seriously, wherefore? It's a stupid name.
- 5D: They're served with spoon-straws (icees) — SPOON-STRAW would make a good answer.
- 13D: Eponymous French physicist (Ampère) — up there in the advanced math/science portion of the puzzle along with ANALYTIC Geometry (2D: _____ Geometry (college course)).
- 21D: High-school class, informally (frosh) — tricky cluing there, with class referring to a grade level, not a course.
- 28D: Onetime Asiatic nomads (Huns) — I like the sound of this clue. You don't see the phrase "Asiatic nomads" too often these days.
- 45D: Rambler maker, once: Abbr. (AMC) — get GMC and AMC confused.
- 52D: Start of an incantation (abra) — weird that this can stand alone. It's not a separate word. Can I clue MASSACHU as [Start of an eastern state]?
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]
P.S. hey syndicated solvers: Today (9/16) is the birthday of a certain crossword constructor friend of mine. Caleb Madison and I made him a puzzle as a gift. I wanted to let you all have it now, while it's still actually Kevin's birthday.
Here it is, enjoy.
[AcrossLite and .pdf version available here.
You can also print it out very easily, below (just click on "More" and then "Print")]
Across Lite - Happy Birthday, Kevin