THURSDAY, Oct. 15 2009 — Early tower locale / Relative of a husk / English princess after whom Virginia county named
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Constructor: Victor Fleming
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: HAWAII (43D: Theme of this puzzle)
Word of the Day: 'IOLANI PALACE (34A: With 36-Across, only official residence of a reigning monarch now in the United States) — ʻIolani Palace, situated in the capitol district of downtown Honolulu in the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi, is the only royal palace used as an official residence by a reigning monarch in the United States and is a National Historic Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Two monarchs governed from ʻIolani Palace: King David Kalākaua and Queen Liliʻuokalani. After the monarchy was overthrown in 1893, the building was used as the capitol building for the Provisional Government, Republic, Territory, and State of Hawaiʻi until 1969. The palace was opened to the public as a museum in 1978.
No time to write this morning. Overslept. Must take daughter to school, prep for classes.
Haven't disliked a puzzle this much in a loooong time, so it's just as well I have not time to dwell on it. A bunch of random !@#@ about HAWAII. How Does This Qualify As A Valid Theme??? Ugh. I guess more than a month has gone by since BARACK OBAMA has been in the grid, so something had to be done.
Found this one relatively easy EXCEPT — I had never heard of either 'IONLANI PALACE or the ALDENS, so total personal NATICK moment for me at that "L" — two unknown proper nouns crossing at a place where many letters seem possible = a total guess. I have a feeling the whole world knows the ALDENS, as I have always been particularly averse to Mayflower history, for whatever reason, but some people love it, and Lots of people probably had to learn about it in grade school. Missed me entirely. I had ASTINS for 31D: Priscilla and John. I was at least half right.
- 17A: Entertainer born 12/1/45 in 25-Across (Bette Midler)
- 25A: Capital whose name means "sheltered bay" (Honolulu)
- 34A: With 36-Across, only official residence of a reigning monarch now in the United States
- 44A: Measured base to peak, the world's tallest mountain (Mauna Kea)
- 54A: Politician born 8/4/61 in 25-Across (Barack Obama)
Lots of less-than-great fill today, like PCPS (really, in the plural?? 49A: Some hallucinogens, for short), DEAR ANN (38D: Start of a letter to Landers), GINNED (60A: Went out, in a card game), SEAMED (42D: Like pant legs). Grumpiness at the theme is making me see non-theme fill less generously than I otherwise might have. Not that fond of ABLOOM (8D: More than budding), or SONDRA, whom I know only from "Bronco Billy" and other and whatever else she did when she was with Eastwood, and who spells her name weird (37A: Actress Locke of "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter"). No idea who princess AMELIA is or why the county in Virginia is important, but she wasn't too hard to bring down (2D: English princess after whom a Virginia county is named). Just not a lot to rave about today. Premise of the puzzle is loose and weak, and the non-theme fill is OK at best.
- 59A: Barrett of the original Pink Floyd (Syd) — important, as there are not too many SYDS in the world and sometimes you get in a tight spot and need one to fill your grid.
- 16A: Post-shot syllable? (hic) — that's sort of cute.
- 46A: Los Angeles fossil site (La Brea) — LA BREA tar pits = gimme.
- 52A: One talking in a forest, maybe (macaw) — the ones in the forest talk? I thought just the tame ones you trained to talk could do that.
- 11D: Innocent-looking (cherubic) — CHERUBIC is a nice word. Perhaps the nicest word in the grid.
- 13D: German warning (Achtung) — I know this word only from the 1990s U2 album "ACHTUNG Baby"
- 29D: Year Caligula was assassinated (XLI) — your random Roman numeral of the day.
- 48D: Early tower locale (Babel) — once again, the Bible is clued as historical fact. I like the clue, but it feels like, technically, there should be "According to Genesis" somewhere in it.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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