THURSDAY, Aug. 13 2009 — Mathematician Post Artin / Oscar Wilde Bill Maher for example / Having dividing wall in biology / Seaside raptor
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Constructor: Patrick McIntyre
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: COIN FLIPS (32A: Starts of some games ... and of the answers to 16-, 22-, 48- and 56-Across?) — theme answers all begin with some rearrangement of the letters C, O, I, and N
Word of the Day: Machmeters (29D: What machmeters measure => AIR SPEED) — A machmeter is an aircraft pitot-static system flight instrument that shows the ratio of the true airspeed to the speed of sound, a dimensionless quantity called Mach number. This is shown on a Machmeter as a decimal fraction. An aircraft flying at the speed of sound is flying at a Mach number of one, expressed as Mach 1. (wikipedia)
This took me nearly as long as a normal Friday puzzle, not because any of the answers are so hard (a few are, but no more than usual), but because the cluing seemed either vague or just off in a Lot of places. How is a YAPPER a 18A: Gossip? A YAPPER is someone who won't shut the @#$# up. I have no idea what he's saying, he's just bugging the hell out of me. EXPELS = 9D: Runs out? How? If you run someone out OF town, I guess you are expelling him. But then you'd need the "of." Is FEST even a word any more? (8A: Themed events). Can't imagine its ever being anything but a suffix. Oh, and COIN FLIPS? Where is the flipping? (A: nowhere). Unless you are prepared to start every theme answer with NIOC- (or YNNEP-, EMID-, etc.), then you should not give your puzzle this title. Too bad COIN SCRAMBLE is not a term. The grid looks just fine — ORIFICE (23D: Opening) and SYNOPSIS (15D: TV Guide info) and NICOTINE are all nice, unusual answers. But the botched theme concept and the iffy cluing made this less than entertaining for me.
- 16A: Ingredient in some gum (NICOtine)
- 22A: Oscar Wilde or Bill Maher, for example (ICONoclast)
- 48A: Like some passes (INCOmplete)
- 56A: Cedar and hemlock (CONIfers)
Tons of error potential in today's puzzle. I think I fell into most of the lurking traps, including JUST A SEC for WAIT A SEC (44A: "Hold on!"), A TEAR for A ROLL (47A: Hot, after "on"), and TREAD for TROMP (49D: Step heavily (on)). They all involve the word "on" in some way. Evil little word, "on." Also had (Wade will like this) OWENS for O'NEIL (20D: Buck _____ first black coach in Major League Baseball (Cubs, 1962)).
Clue that actually made me say "F@#@ you" out loud: 58A: Mathematician Post or Artin (Emil). Seriously, go to hell. Quit trying to cover up your lousy reverse-citrus crosswordese with smug dorkness. AMINES was going to be my Word of the Day (46D: Organic compounds with nitrogen), but the definition is so boring and forgettable that I abandoned it. See identical clue, word for word, here. I'm sure I've seen UGO before, clued this same way (13A: Actor Tognazzi of "La Cage aux Folles"). That's a desperation name for sure. And never really listened to Genesis before the late 70s (i.e. B.C., Before Collins became frontman), so "Back IN NYC" (also a desperate entry, frankly) was unknown to me (6D: "Back _____" (1974 Genesis song)).
- 14A: Seaside raptor (erne) — see "raptor," think ERN(E). Usually right.
- 15A: Allen Iverson's teammates till '06 (Sixers) — I *guess* the "till" is s'posed to tip you to the slangness of SIXERS. Or maybe it's the jaunty "'06" abbrev. that the kids are using these days to signify the year. Who can tell?
- 28A: Sister who's won the U.S. Open three times (Serena) — how she makes time for her duties as a nun, I don't know.
- 51A: Mambo king Puente (Tito) — my favorite TITO.
- 1D: Hackneyed movie endings (sunsets) — well, it's hackneyed to ride off into them, sure.
- 5D: Small African antelope (oribi) — haven't seen the ELAND or ORYX in a while, but the ORIBI is engaged in some kind of P.R. campaign (actually, I think I've seen him twice this summer ... just seems like a lot).
- 54D: Like Clark Kent's manner (mild) — thought this ended in an "S" for a while, back when I thought the column in question in 61A: Kind of column was ONES (it's OP-ED).
- 55D: Third year in the reign of Edward the Elder (CMI) — who can forget? (A: everyone).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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