Old Spanish treasure chest — TUESDAY, Dec. 8 2009 — Mournful ring / Old English bard / Keyboardist Saunders / Soap actress Kristen / Skier McKinney
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Constructor: Joe Krozel
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (Medium for me, but if you don't know names / Old English bards, look out)
THEME: Names — all the Acrosses are first names. I think that's it.
Word of the Day: MENT (37D: Puzzle completion?) — MENT is a suffix that might go on the end of the word "Puzzle" to create the word "Puzzlement"
This puzzle takes stunt puzzles to a new level of ... something. On the one hand, I love the puzzle as a retort to all the people who whine about names in their puzzles (a la "why are there celebrities in my puzzle? This isn't the "People Magazine" puzzle!" Etc.). On the other hand, ugh. I didn't enjoy solving it. There didn't seem to be much of a point (another name, another name) and the Downs are terrible in places, particularly the east. RHETMENTATEE is lucky the God of Bad Short Fill already has a name (OOXTEPLERNON, who, to this puzzle's credit, was only moderately pleased today). Most Downs are OK, but SCOP and ARCA are at least slightly nutty for a Tuesday (usually you cross names with non-obscure stuff since names are know-it-or-you-don't), and there's a bit more AUS / ASAN / ERDE-type stuff than I'd like. This puzzle is all about the concept. If you have to torture non-theme fill to realize your vision, so be it, I guess.
Names I didn't know (just bec. I don't have the time, patience, or desire to write them all out):
- 19A: Mezzo-soprano Resnik (Regina)
- 32A: Actor Feldman (Corey) — I actually know COREY Feldman, but I had MARTY here at first, and so did many of you.
- 16A: First lady McKinley (Ida)
- 56A: Skier McKinney (Tamara)
- 43A: Country singer Bryan (Luke) — ???? Psst, your last name is a first name.
- 66A: Soap actress Kristen (Ilene) — ???? Psst, your last name is a first name.
- 70A: Newspaper editor Bradlee (Ben) — I've heard of him, but that didn't keep me from writing "TOM" in here.
- 53A: Keyboardist Saunders (Merl) — well, MERL stumped a hell of a lot of people on a puzzle two years ago, but that was a Friday or Saturday. Today he's crossed in a way that makes him much more gettable.
- 20D: The body's balance regulator (inner ear) — or, as I call it, my INNIE (10D: Certain navel).
- 6D: Carriers of water to los océanos (rios) — is there are rule about when a clue like this lapses into the foreign language? Is it that only one term (the last) should get foreignized? I guess that makes a kind of sense.
- 63D: Abbr. after many a general's name (Ret.) — wife had RTD, creating ILTNE Kristen and NADE Archibald. She also thought perhaps there was an actor named MOREY Feldman. Me: "... SMOP? Really?" Apparently.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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