Bris parties / WED 5-12-10 / 1915 Literature Nobelist * Rolland / Cousins of clogs / Country music pioneer Ernest
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Constructor: Pete Muller
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: JACK-IN-THE-BOXES (41A: Some surprised ... and what you'll find in the circled areas of this puzzles) — circled squares form "boxes" that feature the last names of famous JACKs, if you in clockwise fashion starting with NW corner of the "box"
Word of the Day: ODILE (66A: Tchaikovsky's black swan) —
Odette is the innocent Swan Queen heroine of Swan Lake; Odile is the malevolent temptress who impersonates Odette in order to deceive Prince Siegfried. In most productions the two contrasting roles are danced by the same ballerina. (answers.com)
I like the puzzle a lot. It's quirky. Two of the crossings, however, proved brutal for some solvers. So much so, that we homed in on those two squares right away, because the errors were easy to miss if you weren't really looking for them. The first was the SABOTS (50D: Cousins of clogs / ODILE crossing — some people, it seems, weren't familiar with, or weren't familiar with the spelling of, SABOTS, and so had various other vowels there (mainly "E," I think). The other, more brutal crossing is the ESTELLE (49A: Woman in Sartre's "No Exit") / BEENE (44D: Designer Geoffrey) one. No reason anyone should know if it's ESTELLE or ESTELLA, and BEANE is a perfectly good last name, so ... rough. Virtual unanimity in the judges' room that that last cross was, let's say, unfortunate. I'm guessing more than one of you made one or more of the above errors. If you did, know you were in good (and plentiful) company.
- NW: NICHOLSON
- N: HORNER
- NE: WEBB
- SW: PAAR
- S: LONDON
- SE: NICKLAUS
The fastest solver in the tournament was undone by this puzzle — he mysteriously had SONATINI at 58A: Short piano piece (SONATINA), perhaps imagining, in some fleeting moment, that TICKLE was an appropriate answer for 55D: Take on (TACKLE). [TURN on], maybe. [Take on], not quite. I now encourage you all to go out and invent the drink that will become known as ... the SONATINI. Send recipes to rexparker at mac dot com. Thank you.
- 6A: 1970s sitcom that included Carlton the Doorman ("RHODA") — PuzzleGirl insists that it's "Carlton, your doorman."
- 17A: Country music pioneer Ernest (TUBB) — not sure how I knew this, but I did. TUBB is a great name. Seems apt, somehow, for a country musician. I like the names FLATT & SCRUGGS (technically bluegrass, but related in my mind nonetheless) ... country musicians now are all named RANDY or TRAVIS or RANDY TRAVIS. I'm listening to a lot of Dwight Yoakam lately. Dwight's an OK country name, but Yoakam — that's gold. Yoke 'em! You know what country stars aren't named? ROMAIN (6D: 1915 Literature Nobelist ___ Rolland)
- 24A: Some footnotes, for short (OP CITS) — Oh I do not like this in the plural. But that can't surprise you.
- 33A: Flower of the buttercup family (ANEMONE) — put this in a puzzle once — funny how that will solidify a word (esp. one you didn't know well beforehand) in your mind. Before I saw the puzzle database, I had no idea there was any ANEMONE besides a Sea ANEMONE.
- 39A: Green gem source (BERYL) — it's a "source" ... but not the actual gem itself? Wikipedia is telling me that emerald *is* green beryl ...
- 60A: Shoe brand named for an antelope (REEBOK) — Afrikaans: rhebok.
- 51D: Subwoofer's zone (LOW END) — I always use "LOW-END" to refer to cheap or shoddy merchandise. There is a great, great, great rap album by A Tribe Called Quest called "The LOW END Theory." I absolutely wore it out circa 1992.
- 53D: Bright spot in Canis Major (SIRIUS) — I like the canine juxtaposition of SIRIUS and "Subwoofer"
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P.S. here's a picture I took the weekend of the tournament for the "Moment in Time" project (now up and running at the NYT's photography blog, "Lens") — a very cool project, my random motel room snapshot notwithstanding