Modern dweller in ancient Ur / TUE 6-15-10 / Francis old game shows / Aid for skiing uphill / Quadraphonic halved
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Constructor: Jill Winslow
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: SWITCH POSITIONS (62A: Trade places ... or a hint to parts of 17-, 27- and 48-Across)— three theme answers are phrases containing both "ON" and "OFF"
Word of the Day: ORNE (6D: River of Normandy) —
The Orne is a river in Normandy, within northwestern France. It discharges into the English Channel at the port of Ouistreham. Its source is in Aunou-sur-Orne, east of Sées. The Odon is one of its tributaries. // The Orne formed the Eastern flank of the Allied landings in Normandy during World War II on 6 June 1944.
- 17A: Intermittent, as a relationship (ON AGAIN OFF AGAIN)
- 27A: Leaves the main topic temporarily (IS OFF ON A TANGENT)
- 48A: Start to exit an Interstate (GET ON THE OFF RAMP)
PEGLEGS = big winner of the day (10D: Limbs for movie pirates). There are some issues with the rest of the fill. And the cluing. What the hell is up with the clue on ROPETOW (44D: Aid for skiing uphill). If it's pulling you uphill you *aren't* "skiing." And if you find yourself on skis and going uphill, you're Doing It Wrong (cross-country skiers excepted). I might have done just about anything to keep NOVEM out of my (Tuesday) puzzle (33D: Caesar's nine). I had a couple years of Latin and I couldn't come up with it. Wanted NONES, mainly because that's one of the canonical hours (along with matins, lauds, etc.). Admittedly, N---M words are hard to come by, but if they're that hard, then switch the positions of your theme answers before you build the thing. I mean, you've got SAREE (28D: Delhi wrap: Var.) and NE'ER (43A: ___-do-well) on the other side, so it's not like you (probably) couldn't do better. AAAA = AAAARGH (11D: Tiny battery). ORNE, ENNE, EFTS (40D: Terrestrial salamanders), and EFOR are pretty phoned-in. I am surprised, also (this time in a good way), by the clue on ELENA (32D: ___ Kagan, Obama nominee to the Supreme Court). Way to be (very) timely! That clue will probably have to change for the puzzle's eventual book publication, as by summer's end she'll simply be a Supreme Court justice. My friends Liana and Robert had a baby girl just last week and named her ELENA. I told them, if she does anything the least bit noteworthy, she'll be a crossword answer some day. This is why I'm naming my next child OOLA.
- 25A: Plumlike fruit (SLOE) — an important bit of crosswordese. My first guess here was POME (?). SLOE is almost TANGENTial to SLOW today (37A: Apply brakes to). But not quite.
- 39A: Gearbox option (REVERSE) — this is literally true. I like the clue. Actually, I like the word "GEARBOX" — wish *that* were in the grid.
- 66A: Smuggler's unit (KILO) — I'm not the biggest fan of cross-referenced clues, but I'm surprised there's no KILO-NARC tie-in today (49D: Crack officer?).
- 67A: Francis of old game shows (ARLENE) — like SLOE, an important bit of crosswordese. Only other ARLENE I've seen is Dahl. I have amended my future child's name to OOLA ARLENE ...
- 25D: Quadraphonic halved (STEREO) — the clues are more entertaining than the answers today.
- 47D: Modern dweller in ancient Ur (IRAQI) — went with IRANI [buzzer!] then realized the thing I was being asked to stick in my ear was a Q-TIP (58A: Stick it in your ear). They mean your outer ear. I hope.
Enjoy your Tuesday.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]