MONDAY, Sep. 28 2009 — Round red firecracker / Form of address in British India / Relative of rhododendron
Monday, September 28, 2009
Constructor: Lynn Lempel
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Box Office Poison — theme answers are all two-word phrases where the second word is a synonym for a bad or otherwise failed movie (or stage production, I guess).
Word of the Day: ZAMBEZI (31D: Africa's fourth-longest river and site of Victoria Falls) — The Zambezi (also spelled Zambesi) is the fourth-longest river in Africa, and the largest flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa. The area of its basin is 1,390,000 km² (537,000 miles²), slightly less than half that of the Nile. The 3,540 km- (2,200 mile-) long river has its source in Zambia and flows through Angola, along the borders of Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, to Mozambique, where it empties into the Indian Ocean. (wikipedia)
If the last three days are any indication, the puzzle seems to be back on track again, quality-wise. Today's puzzle is vintage Monday awesomeness from Lynn Lempel. No crap fill, five theme entries, a mess of Zs ... I can't really ask for much more a Monday. Felt somewhat thornier than a normal Monday, but my final time said otherwise. Shortish theme entries allow for their strategic placement such that None of them share an intersecting word. This allows the constructor to maximize his/her (in this case, her) ability to create clean, and even colorful non-theme fill. Is TANKTOP a bonus theme answer (26D: Close-fitting sleeveless shirt)? In that a BOMB is a movie that TANKs? Probably not, since TANK is the beginning of that word, and not a separate word, as is the case with the other theme words. Still, TANKTOP is a nice central Down. Really, really nice ...
- 17A: Abrupt way to quit (cold TURKEY)
- 11D: Narcs' raid (drug BUST)
- 40A: Chocolaty morsel munched at the movies (Milk DUD) — love the way that movies are subtly brought into the picture here.
- 39D: Beach footwear (flip FLOP)
- 63A: Round, red firecracker (cherry BOMB)
- 4A: Nog ingredient (raw egg) — man do I hate "nog." Do people make it with RAW EGG any more? I would have thought RAW EGG nog had gone the way of RAW EGG Caesar salad dressing.
- 15A: Relative of a rhododendron (azalea) — despite its "Z," a not uncommon (litotes!) six-letter crossword answers. So many vowels ...
- 21A: State of weightlessness, as in space (zero G) — always love the way this looks in the grid. Like the name of some evil space emperor. All bow before ZEROG!
- 45A: Bluefin and albacore (tunas) — probably my least favorite thing about this grid, but that plural is valid, given the clue.
- 5D: Color of a picture postcard sky (azure) — that's really a lovely clue for AZURE.
- 8D: Old, crotchety guy (geezer) — I get mail from this guy on a pretty regular basis. "How could you not know ..." "In my day ..." "Things were better when ..." "Kids these days ..." "Whipper ... snapper!"
- 45D: Form of address in British India (Sahib) — British India also gives us the crossword words RAJ and AMAH, among others. Hurray for Colonialism! More words for us! (I'm being facetious — please, no indignant mail)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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