Senta's suitor in Flying Dutchman / THU 2-25-10 / Literary invalid / 1957 Disney tearjerker / Title role in 1950s TV western
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Constructor: Holden Baker
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: Ten TINs — rebus puzzle with ten "TIN" squares, tied together by 44A: Artisan whose work is featured in this puzzle? ([TIN] SMITH)
Word of the Day: UELE River (15A: Ubangi tributary) —
The Uele River is a river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is a tributary of the Ubangi River, which in turn flows into the Congo. The Uele is the 46th longest river in the world. It is the fifth longest in Africa.
This was on the Challenging side only because it was a rebus puzzle, and those are always at least a bit of a challenge to ferret out. Once you realize that the rebus is just TIN, and not a bunch of different elements, the rebus squares aren't too difficult to uncover and the puzzle settles into a medium difficulty. Where did you realize you were dealing with a rebus? For me, oddly, it was at GRA[TIN] (6A: Au ___). I had no idea about how good a guess GUINEA was at 6D: Neighbor of Liberia, but that "G" gave me GRA-, which caused me to test the "TIN" in that final square, which allowed me to make sense of 9D: Parts opposite some handles ([TIN]ES). Helped a lot by knowing the surprisingly long-last-named Tom SKERRITT (21D: Emmy-winning Tom of "Picket Fences"). Hurt a bit by being baffled by FT. DODGE (46A: County seat on the Des Moines River). The irrefutable contiguity of "TD" got me to guess FT. DODGE, and it panned out. The cluing felt slightly amped up on this one — deliberately thorny or misdirective, e.g. 64A: Scratch (KALE) (both slang for "money"), 55A: Is too cool (ROCKS), etc. Rebus puzzles are almost always enjoyable to me, and I liked this one, even if it did feel a bit pointless. Just ... TINs everywhere ... and [TIN]SMITH is my payoff answer? ... seems a bit weak, conceptually. I like the pile-up of TINs in the middle, though. That's pretty cool. Otherwise, puzzle's just OK.
Creations of the TINsmith (44A):
- S[TIN]GER (1A: Antiaircraft missile)
- [TIN]GLE (2D: "Sleeping" sensation)
- GRA[TIN] (6A: Au ___)
- [TIN]ES (9D: Parts opposite some handles)
- OU[TIN]GS (22A: Picnics, e.g.)
- MAR[TIN]I (11D: Happy hour order)
- CRE[TIN] (38A: Clod)
- "I, [TIN]A" (32D: 1986 showbiz autobiography)
- "RIN [TIN] [TIN]" (39A: Title role in a 1950s western)
- AS[TIN] (30D: Actor John)
- UNS[TIN][TIN]G (24D: In a very generous manner)
- DIS[TIN]CT (49A: Well-defined)
- [TIN]KLES (52D: Bell sounds)
- [TIN]Y TIM (66A: Literary invalid)
- SELEC[TIN]G (45D: "Eeny-meeny-miney-mo" activity)
- [TIN] EAR (68A: It's not good for conducting)
- SI[T-IN] (62D: 1960s event)
- 17A: Inspiration for "Troilus and Cressida" ("ILIAD") — thought sure it would be something like CHAUCER, since he wrote "Troilus and Criseyde" a good two centuries before Shakespeare wrote his play.
- 53A: Bean pot (OLLA) — knew it was a pot, didn't know it had anything to do with "beans."
- 61A: One in civvies who maybe shouldn't be (AWOL) — I always confuse "civvies" and "skivvies," so I had to pause a bit. "Someone who *shouldn't* be wearing underwear, eh? ... hmmm."
- 4D: P.D.A. communiqué (E-MAIL) — pretty swanky, cosmopolitan clue for an ordinary E-MAIL
- 26A: Figure in Magic: The Gathering (OGRE) — total guess. Figured it would draw from the same pool of monsters as D&D.
- 27D: Valley ___, redundantly named California community (GLEN) — What? Where? "Community?" Seems to be specifically a community within the city of Los Angeles.
- 37D: Gary who invented the Pet Rock (DAHL) — this (and the last clue as well) is what I mean about the clues being "amped up" — here, it's a bit absurd. "Who's the most marginal DAHL we can find!? Pet Rock inventor! Brilliant!" Meanwhile, Arlene and Roald wondering "WTF!?"
- 59D: Senta's suitor in "The Flying Dutchman" (Erik) — Same category as GLEN and DAHL clues. More familiar stuff is foregone for much more marginal stuff. At least I learned something. Too mad it's the type of "learning" I'm bound to forget before I wake up in the morning (it's 11:26 pm EST right now).
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