19th-century farmer (THU 5-6-10) Family of George's fiancee on Seinfeld / Little title figure in Beach Boys hit / When doubled #3 hit 1968 #1 hit 1987
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Constructor: Dan Naddor
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Angry dog — "GR" gets tacked on to the beginnings of familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are clued wackily ("?"-style)
Word of the Day: GRANGER (37D: 19th-century farmer) —
- Chiefly Upper Midwest. A farmer.
- Granger Chiefly Northeastern U.S. A member of the Grange.
Puzzle 4 from this past weekend's Crosswords L.A. Tournament — this one was a signature Dan Naddor add-a-letter (two letters) tour-de-force. A gaudy number of theme answers (7) with a very cool-looking slant-stack of three in the middle. I'm not much for this type of theme, but if you're gonna do it, overdo it, I say. Here, not only do you have scads of theme answers, but you have a nice, wide open grid generally. 72 words, with very open NE and SW corners, and nice longish columns of answers in the NW and SE as well. There are some unfortunate bits of short fill — ICS ALD ASE ITHE REW — but all in all, for what it is, I think it works fine. Most common mistakes at the tournament were probably predictable: and O-for-A swap on the one hand (DINO / TORTE) and an A-for-O on the other (ROSARIA / RASSES). With that last one, I'm not sure how people justified RASSES to themselves, but I am sympathetic to the error — I really don't think crossing two obscure NBC sitcom clues at a vowel is very fair (38D: Karen's maid on "Will & Grace" => ROSARIO / 62A: Family of George's fiancée on "Seinfeld" => ROSSES). As for the first error, DINA Merrill is crosswordese (31A: Actress Merrill), and DINO isn't a plausible actress's name, but the TORTE for TARTE error is completely understandable to me (27D: Pâtisserie offering).
Least appealing answer in the grid, to me, was SEA EEL (44D: Sushi offering). Is there any other legit crossword entry that has the appalling letter string "EAEE" in it?
- 18A: Barbecue comfortably? (GRILL AT EASE)
- 20A: "Are your Southern breakfast vittles satisfactory?" ("GRITS OKAY?")
- 32A: Marvelous golf club? (GRAND IRON)
- 35A: Purple outfit? (GRAPE SUIT)
- 37A: Rules regarding tile setting? (GROUT LAWS)
- 54A: Big black bird? (GREAT CROW)
- 56A: Passenger gorging on fried chicken and potato chips? (GREASY RIDER) — winner!
- 8A: N'awlins sandwiches (PO' BOYS) — Mmm. "N'awlins" is a good way to clue the equally contracted "PO'"
- 23A: When doubled, a #3 hit of 1968 or a #1 hit of 1987 ("MONY") — #1! Wow, I had no idea that Billy Idol song was so big. "White Wedding" big!
- 24A: Nonmigratory goose (NENE) — they pretty much just stay there in Hawaii.
- 44A: "Little" title figure in a Beach Boys hit (ST. NICK) — wanted DEUCE COUPE so bad.
- 51A: Silents star Nita (NALDI) — Like DINA, crosswordese, but most solvers seem to have picked this up eventually even if it was initially unfamiliar to them.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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