Gap in a manuscript— MONDAY, Dec. 14 2009 — Greek port where Prince Philip was born / What to call Spain's Juan Carlos
Monday, December 14, 2009
Constructor: Tim Darling
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: Time Zones — theme answers begin with EASTERN, CENTRAL, MOUNTAIN, and PACIFIC, respectively
Word of the Day: CORFU (24D: Greek port where Prince Philip was born) — Corfu (Greek: Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, IPA: [ˈkʲe̞ɾkʲiɾa]; Ancient Greek: Κέρκυρα or Κόρκυρα; Latin: Corcyra; Italian: Corfù) is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands. (wikipedia)
This is a fine theme with mostly lamentable fill — except CREDENZA, that's a winner (36D: Sideboard). If I never see RETOP, ADES, and especially E-ZINES again, it'll be too soon. The puzzles two contractions (!) have no business being that close to each other in the east (I'VE / AREN'T), and the SE corner is a bit of a disaster, with Intersecting Plural Abbreviations and a partial (A DOG). The "Z" down there is doing his best to save the corner, but to no avail. I appreciate the "X" in the far SW, but overall the puzzle is pretty dreary. Again, I think the conceit is good — Time Zones. Solid. But more care should be taken in making the non-theme fill interesting, or at least clean (see the far west for an example — the whole grid should be that tight).
- 17A: Acupuncture, e.g. (EASTERN medicine)
- 24A: Furnace, e.g. (CENTRAL heater)
- 40A: Rough-terrain cyclist (MOUNTAIN biker)
- 53A: Samoan or Fijian (PACIFIC Islander)
Tore through this puzzle in something like record time (2:42), then noticed upon perusing the results that I had BOOM where WHAM was supposed to go, and I never fixed it. BOOM created three impossible crosses (BHOSE, OART, OLF) and I somehow didn't see any of them. HA ha. Perils of speed solving. I think by the time I fixed those answers my time was still under 3. Biggest issue (to the extent that there were issues) was not getting ROADSIDE until I had most of the crosses (34D: Where a hot dog stand might stand), and having DOREA where DORIA was supposed to go (57A: Andrea _____, ill-fated ship) — figured the queen was never called BESSEE, so changed "E" to "I" at the very end (42D: Nickname for Elizabeth).
- 31A: Good name for a Dalmatian (Spot) — missed opportunity for a cross-reference, as ALPO intersects this answer at the "P" (23D: Mighty Dog competitor).
- 41D: Airport near Tokyo (Narita) — longish crosswordese. Learned it from crosswords a couple years ago.
- 10D: Gap in a manuscript (lacuna) — I always think of this word (which I like a lot) as a gap, generally. Apparently LACUNA is also a mutant in the Marvel universe.
- 9D: Popular teen hangout 50+ years ago (soda shop) — well if Archie comics are a barometer of contemporary teen activity (and I just know they are) then teens still go to the SODA SHOP. They also have names like "Moose" and can occasionally be seen wearing crown-shaped beanies.
And some bonus cartoon tunes, just because I love you guys.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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