1676 Virginia uprising / MON 3-1-10 / Woman presiding at banquet / Cosmetic applied with damp sponge / Poetic chapter for Ezra Pound
Monday, March 1, 2010
Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: Top o' the mornin' — long (vertical!) theme answers all begin with breakfast foods
Word of the Day: BACON'S REBELLION (3D: 1676 Virginia uprising) —
(1676) a civil revolt in Virginia that sprang from colonial disagreement over response to an Indian uprising. Nathaniel Bacon (1647-76), a member of the Virginia Council, organized forces that violated Gov. Sir William Berkeley's orders and took indiscriminate offensive actions against neighboring Indian tribes, friendly or otherwise. When Berkeley removed Bacon from his council seat, Bacon's forces marched on Jamestown, burned it, and drove Berkeley out of town. The rebellion ended following Bacon's death from dysentery. After the episode, British regulars were stationed permanently in the colony. (US Military Dictionary)
Here's my one criticism of this puzzle: I don't think most people would have TOAST and PANCAKEs at the same meal. Other than that ... I'm really impressed. Brendan is my friend and frequent correspondent, and he's generally a fantastic constructor, but I don't think of him as a Monday constructor. At all. And yet this one, for all its crazy long (and original) answers and weird grid shenanigans, came in at 3:07, which is actually a little fast for me for a Monday. Further: I haven't been this entertained by a Monday puzzle ... well, since I don't know when. Maybe Patrick Blindauer's "Dollar Bill" puzzle a couple years back. I didn't even know what the theme was while I was solving. I just kept muttering "holy crap" to myself as one eye-popping entry after another kept coming into view. Every one of the theme answers is a total winner:
- 3D: 1676 Virginia uprising (BACON'S REBELLION)
- 5D: Woman presiding at a banquet (TOASTMISTRESS)
- 19D: Cosmetic applied with a damp sponge (PANCAKE MAKEUP)
- 11D: Photo-filled reading matter in the living room (COFFEE TABLE BOOK)
By the way, Brendan thinks I'm an idiot for liking this puzzle so much. It's technically from much earlier in his career — he submitted it almost ten years ago ("Pre-9/11!") and Will has hung on to it until now, for some reason. Maybe BEQ's embarrassed by the smattering of weak fill, or the arbitrarily vertical theme answers, or ... I don't know what. But I like what I like. And I liked this. So there.
- 36A: Fancy (HIGH FALUTIN') — yeah, that's pretty regal. I mean, he throws four of these long Acrosses down, and they don't even have anything to do with the theme. Just ... bonus fanciness.
- 18A: Unrealized gain on a investment (PAPER PROFIT) — more long goodness.
- 29A: Detective, in slang (SHAMUS) — great hard-boiled detective word. Spade uses the word to describe himself. Wife asked, "isn't that a whale?" Yes, more than one SHAMU = SHAMUS.
- 64A: They measure the tonnage of trucks (WEIGH SCALES) — got the WEIGH, but had to get the rest from crosses, as only WEIGH STATION was coming to mind.
- 37D: Costing nothing, in Cologne (FREI) — Sadly, FREI always makes me think of concentrations camps (and the phrase "Arbeit Macht FREI" commonly seen at their entry gates). On a lighter note, MCCOY (9A: The real ___) always makes me think of this:
- 49A: Kettledrum (TIMBAL) — not sure how I know this, but very glad I did. This and SERIN (and maybe BACON'S REBELLION) are the words I can see possibly giving people trouble today.
- 30D: Terse critiques (UGHS) — Yes. I've issued many such critiques. Not today.
- 15A: Nerve (MOXIE) — One of the great words in the English language. It's upbeat and old-fashioned and a little sparkly, with a patina of practical optimism: "You've got MOXIE, kid!" Love it.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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