Cops in slang / TUE 3-30-10 / 1900 Puccini premiere / Bygone cracker brand / Beekeeper of filmdom / Computer setup to facilitate instant messaging
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: FIVE-O (9A: Cops, in slang ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme) — Five theme answers each begin with a homophone of "O"
Word of the Day: STOA (46A: Site of Zeno's teaching) —
Stoa (plural, stoae or stoæ) in Ancient Greek architecture; covered walkways or porticos, commonly for public usage. Early stoae were open at the entrance with columns lining the side of the building, creating a safe, enveloping, protective atmosphere and were usually of Doric order. Later examples consisted of mainly two stories, with a roof supporting the inner colonnades where shops or sometimes offices were located and followed Ionic architecture. These buildings were open to the public; merchants could sell their goods, artists could display their artwork, and religious gatherings could take place. Stoae usually surrounded the marketplaces of large cities. // Zeno began teaching in the colonnade in the Agora of Athens known as the Stoa Poikile in 301 BC. His disciples were initially called Zenonians, but eventually they came to be known as Stoics, a name previously applied to poets who congregated in the Stoa Poikile. (wikipedia)
I really liked this puzzle, and found it very easy. A very clever theme with interesting theme answers and some non-theme fill that really sparkles — e.g. FAR-FLUNG (9D: Widespread) and BUDDY LIST (70A: Computer setup to facilitate instant messaging). My wife's experience with the puzzle, however, was less joyful, and less successful, and seeing her grid opened my eyes to a host of issues (not failings, necessarily; just issues) that I would never have noticed otherwise. Let's start with FAR-FLUNG. Unlike me, wife hit 32A: Informal British term of address before she ever saw the clue for FAR-FLUNG, and so she spelled her answer GOV. Then, since she, like most people, could not tell you off hand the key of Gershwin's apparently lone concerto (IN F), she made sense of 9D: Widespread the only way she could: by entering FAR ALONG. If I squint and cock my head a little, FAR ALONG makes sense as an answer to the clue. IN A certain makes sense as something a concerto might be. And GOV makes sense — that's how GOVernor is spelled, after all. So she fell into a weird trap I didn't know existed. She also had somehow never heard of either LIEV Schreiber (of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine") or HI-HO crackers (29D: Bygone cracker brand) and couldn't make any sense of AHS (28A: Physical reactions?). Explaining the logic of AHS to her was not terribly successful. I was met with disbelief and mild defensiveness. Wife had also never heard of a BUDDY LIST, though she managed to get it correctly.
My only problems, on the other hand, were writing in IRISH for WELSH (53D: Like the name "Bryn Mawr") and not being able to decide initially between STELE / EROS and STELA / AMOR at 56D: Inscribed pillar / 73A: Lover boy? I've never seen STOA *and* STELE in the same grid before. I hope I never do again. I can only take only so much serious, old school, ancient Greek , "ST"-starting crosswordese in one day. But, as I said, overall, I really liked it.
- 17A: Up-to-date (AU COURANT)
- 23A: Brut or Paco Rabannae (EAU DE COLOGNE)
- 41A: Browning opening line preceding "Now that April's there" ("OH, TO BE IN ENGLAND")
- 52A: Be indebted to the I.R.S. (OWE BACK TAXES)
- 65A: Willa Cather novel ("O PIONEERS!")
- 44A: 1900 Puccini premiere ("TOSCA") — the puzzle's favorite opera, after "AIDA." Never seen it, but no sweat.
- 6D: Civil rights advocate ___ B. Wells (IDA) — crosswordese. Learned her from crosswords. Thankfully, she came when called today. Sometimes my crosswordese just doesn't show up. E.g. "O yeah, I know this, it's ... that word ... ULAN? ... ANYA? ... ANSA? ..." (my thought process every time the clue calls for OLAN)
- 24D: Beekeeper of filmdom (ULEE) — my wife was so put off the puzzle that she was taking swiped at just about anything in reach: "Filmdom???" Sigh. Yes, I know, no one says that, but it's standard crossword cluing language.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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