Yangtze river boat / TUE 2-16-10 / Sitcom diner waitress / Hipster's Understood / Idle repairman's employer in ads
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Constructor: Paul Hunsberger
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: PROCESSED MEAT (59A: Spam or sausage ... or a hint to the starts of 20-, 35- and 42-Across) — three theme answers begin with anagrams of MEAT
Word of the Day: SAMPAN (50D: Yangtze River boat) —
A sampan (Chinese: 舢舨; pinyin: shānbǎn) is a relatively flat bottomed Chinese wooden boat from 3.5 to 4.5 m (approximately twelve to fifteen feet) long. Some sampans include a small shelter on board, and may be used as a permanent habitation on inland waters. Sampans are generally used for fishing or transportation, in coastal areas or rivers. It is unusual for a sampan to sail far from land as they do not have the means to survive rough weather. (wikipedia)
Recovering from a bad bout of stomach flu / food poisoning, so this will be brief. Didn't like the puzzle at all. The fact that PROCESSED MEAT was the last thing I wanted to think about yesterday is only a tiny part of the problem. Theme answers are dull and non-theme fill is overwhelmingly weak. Four partials, plus a bunch of boring "this'll do"-type short fill that suggests a computer filled this one out moreso than a human being. Just careless. Compare the fill in today's puzzle with yesterday's, and you'll see what I mean. It's a crosswordese smorgasbord today. One single section (in the west) contains: EOS, ALPE, EAT AT, OLEOS, AORTAS, EMT, and TSK. You're not even *trying* to be interesting! Ugh. I don't have the energy to go on. Thumbs down.
- 20A: Larva-to-adult transition (METAmorphosis)
- 35A: Be monogamous, among animals (MATE for life)
- 42A: Leader on the field (TEAM captain)
- 17A: Hipster's "Understood" ("I dig") — Today's hipsters would never say this. [Beatnik's "Understood"] might be better (I'm saying this as if I care — better never to see this answer again than to see it merely reclued)
- 23A: Idle repairman's employer, in ads (Maytag) — About the best answer in the grid, which is just sad. Oh, I also like SPARK PLUG (34D: Ignition system device)
- 30A: Sports show-off (hot dog) — read this as [Sports show-down], so took longer on it than I should have. Speaking of HOT DOG, really enjoying watching Olympic snowboard cross. 4 people, one track, mayhem. Far more exciting than watching, say, luge.
- 62D: Sitcom diner waitress (Flo) — Love her, but am most impressed that her crosswordese status is so well established that you don't even have to put "Mel's" or "Alice" or "70s-80s TV" in the clue. Or "gum-chewing" or "Kiss my grits!" And answer is still obvious.
- 9D: Clip out, as a coupon (scissor) — ??? You know what you do to coupons? You clip them out. Or cut them out. "I'll be right there, I just have to finish scissoring this coupon!" No.
- 5D: Italian city after which a deli offering is named (Bologna) — aargh, more processed meat. Uncle!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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