Thursday, October 1, 2009
Constructors: Patrick Blindauer & Rebecca Young
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: COMPASS / ROSE (!?) (18A: With 55-Across, direction indicator (and what to draw in the center of this puzzle) — four theme answers point in the directions they contain:
- NORTH POLE runs north (as ELOPHTRON — 6D: Toymaking center?)
- WEST POINT runs west (as TNIOPTSEW — 27A: Its motto is "Duty, Honor, Country")
- SOUTH PARK runs south (as itself — 33D: Long-running TV series set in Colorado)
- EAST ENDER runs east (as itself — 45A: Cockney, e.g.)
Bland square in middle of grid is where you draw your COMPASS ROSE ("ROSE" comes from 55A, which is not an Across answer at all, but the second part of MELROSE — 54A: Place name popular in the 1990s — from numbered square "55" onward) — never heard of a "COMPASS ROSE" before today, so ...
Word of the Day: COMPASS ROSE — A compass rose is a figure on a map or nautical chart used to display the orientation of the cardinal directions, — north, south, east, and west. It is also the term for the graduated markings found on the traditional magnetic compass. Today, the idea of a compass rose is found on, or featured in, almost all navigation systems, including nautical charts, non-directional beacons (NDB), VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) systems, global-positioning systems (GPS), and similar equipment and devices. (wikipedia)
[note: my computer and the NYT website are not getting on this morning, so I've stolen the grid from Amy Reynaldo at "Diary of a Crossword Fiend"]
Well I don't like being asked to draw on my grid when I'm done, and I really don't like fake Across answers that aren't actually there (i.e. being asked to see a 55-Across that technically doesn't exist), but other than that I enjoyed solving this one. A new twist on the idea of pointing your answers in unexpected directions. I like how the diagonal black squares in the grid kinda look like a compass hand (hand?) pointing NE. Or SW, I can't decide.
SKEETER TEETERS! (63A: Picnic pest, informally + 40D: Could fall either way)
Gotta be quick today, so ... the interesting stuff:
- 1A: Paper carrier (satchel) — this took a weirdly long time to get. Needed almost every cross. If I'd trusted SIC right off the bat at 1D: Attack signal, I might have seen SATCHEL sooner.
- 19A: Women who get high? (sopranos) — even just now I typed [Women who like to get high], which shows you that I was happily led in the (mis)direction the clue was taking me. Contemplated SOARERS at some point, but it's not female-specific. And it's too short.
- 56A: "Mr. Pim Passes By" playwright (A.A. Milne) — not only was this guy prolific, but he was prolific across genres. You got the Pooh stuff, and this play, and "The Red House Mystery" (famously torn apart by my hero Raymond Chandler in "The Simple Art of Murder"). Apparently A.A. MILNE could (or would) do anything.
- 3D: Bit of art on a chest, in slang (tat) — Pecs or boobs, not cedar chest or storage chest or hope chest.
- 9D: Sing like Andy Williams or Russ Columbo (croon) — I had no idea Columbo crooned
- 23D: Remote ancestor? (knob) — I caught on right away. I wanted DIAL. :(
- 28D: Pat of "Knute Rockne All American" (O'Brien) — I misread, and continue to misread this clue as [PART of "Knute Rockne All American"].
- 38D: One of eight English kings, to a 45-Across ('Enry) — nice bonus use of a theme answer here.
- 52D: Le Havre honey (amie) — not MIEL, for you French-speaking literalists out there.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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