Big Cup maker — WEDNESDAY, Sep. 9 2009 — Colossus locale / Art show that might feature Fish Magic / Unmerciful Athenian lawgiver
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Constructor: Richard Chisholm
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: EEES (25D: Some shoes ... and a feature of this puzzle's theme) — five theme answers all feature three consecutive E's
Word of the Day: ROSELLE Park, N.J. (27D: _____ Park, N.J.) — Roselle Park is a borough in Union County, New Jersey, United States. As of the United States 2000 Census, the borough population was 13,281. [...] Roselle Park has a rich railroading heritage. A steam locomotive adorns the Borough seal, and the town is very welcoming to railroad enthusiasts. It all began when zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (wikipedia, except the z's, which are all me ... should this place be known to anyone outside its immediate geographical area, i.e. the northern N.J. / NYC area?)
I wrote this on Twitter last night: "You know what I like in my puzzles: lots and lots of Es. Always exciting. Can't have too many." That pretty much says all I have to say today, but I'm going to go on anyway. EEES is, itself, an ugly answer, and it's arbitrarily placed in the grid. Some of the theme answers are nice, self-standing phrases; others (KLEE EXHIBIT?) aren't. Mostly, this is a fine, ordinary puzzle, but the E obsession is mystifying, in that it fills your grid with the deadliest (i.e. most common) of letters. The only thing worse (possibly) would have been a grid chock full of ESSES (29D: Some hook shapes). Also, I feel like I've seen the triple-E theme before. And I wish just two more squares (one in the NE, one in the SW) were white instead of black. Maybe a couple more long Downs (which those white squares would have created) would have livened things up a bit. EWE (53D: 12-Down producer) next to EWERS (52D: Still-life pieces) isn't helping.
The last month has seen a marked dip in overall puzzle quality (with some notable exceptions). I don't really understand what's going on, but I hope it stops soon. I hope it's just end-of-summer doldrums.
- 17A: Arborists (tree experts) — hey, I know one of these.
- 24A: Capitalism (free enterprise)
- 40A: Disagree (don't see eye to eye)
- 50A: Tuneful Ford (Tennessee Ernie)
- 62A: Art show that might feature "Fish Magic" (Klee exhibit)
- 11A: Smoked fare (BBQ) — BBQ season is winding down ...
- 14A: J. Lo title role (Selena) — always want to call her SERENA.
- 15A: Common command in Basic programming (go to) — takes me back to 9th grade computer science. 10 years before the internets went worldwide.
- 31A: Margaret Mitchell family (O'Haras) — backwards, it spells SARAH O.
- 35A: Allen and Coen (Ethans) — more plural names, huzzah. I wants JOELS here at first. There's a JOEL Allen, right? Hmmm, no. Maybe I was thinking of JOEL Gray.
- 71A: Colossus locale (Rhodes) — Whence the term "Rhodes scholar." Or so I'm guessing. I'm no RHODES scholar, so I prefer guessing to looking things up. [OK, people are already taking me seriously and writing me earnest notes about Cecil Rhodes, etc. ... I Was Not Being Serious. How high does the facetious-o-meter have to be set?]
- 2D: Times Roman typeface feature (serif) — lots of discussion with PuzzleGirl about SERIF and sans SERIF fonts as we redesign this website (coming soon ... for real this time).
- 4D: Big Cup maker (Reese's) — really would have liked a bra manufacturer here.
- 8D: "What hath God wrought" sender (Morse) — he had a code.
- 23D: Unmerciful Athenian lawgiver (Draco) — got my Athenian lawgivers mixed up (it happens) and wrote in SOLON.
- 49D: Roy G. Biv part (indigo) — talk about your My Lai massacres. Or should I say MY LAY — because that's how I spelled it, leading me to enter YELLOW for [Roy G. Giv part].
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]