Prelate's title /THU 9-2-10/ Dashiell Hammett hero Beaumont / Initials 1967 Beatles song / Nautilus leader / Active volcano near Messina
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Constructor: Patrick Blindauer & Andrea Carla Michaels
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: EVERY ACROSS / ANSWER READS FROM / RIGHT TO LEFT (24A: Start of instructions for solving this puzzles) — just what the instructions say; note that with the exception of the instructions, all the answers look just fine in the grid (i.e. all non-theme Across answers look like regular crossword entries, reading *left to right* just fine)
Word of the Day: RT. REV. (11D: Prelate's title: Abbr.) —
Well, I'm not a huge fan of stunt puzzles most of the time, because the stunt tends to be an architectural feat accomplished only by gutting the puzzle of solving pleasure. Today, I feel that way a little—got the gimmick early, in the NW (where I started), and then spent the rest of the puzzle simply dutifully filling in a grid with lots of short and mostly ordinary fill. It's just that I was entering the Across fill backwards. Would have been an "Easy" puzzle had I done it on paper, but because of the way the cursor works on my software, I couldn't simply enter stuff backwards; I had to imagine how it was spelled backwards, and then enter it that way. This is an important difference. If I'd done it on paper, I wouldn't have lost time thinking of how to spell something backwards. I'd just have started the answer on the right and written leftwards. Anyway, this is immaterial, really. The point is, I was not thrilled. Then I finished and noticed that all of the backwards Across answers also made perfectly good non-backwards words (or abbrevs. or other xword fill). *That* impressed me. But still, it was a belated impression. Not a lot of grid interest when you've got no non-theme Across answer longer than 5 letters. PATRON SAINT (6D: Denis, to France) and CHOREOGRAPH (25D: Stage) are nice, but otherwise, this is just a dull puzzle that's been flipped around.
Biggest struggle was in and around RT. REV., and abbrev. I've never seen. I have *heard* the term "Right Reverend," which is the only thing that allowed me to leave that corner as is. I could imagine a valid answer, and everything else looked good, so I moved on. Never heard of a few things: PER curiam is new to me (33D: ___ curiam (like some court rulings)), as is this clue for RAJA (AJAR in the grid) (63A: The Blue ___ (Hank Azaria's "Mystery Men" role)). That is not a movie most people saw, and today, I am most people. Wanted ANAT. for ASTR. (26D: College sci. class), and needed almost every cross to understand LOFT (27D: Overhead cost for an artist?) — I had LAMP at first. It makes (a kind of ) sense, I swear.
- 44A: Dashiell Hammett hero ___ Beaumont (NED) — "The Glass Key" is an interesting, strange novel. NED Beaumont is *always* referred to as "NED Beaumont," full name.
- 68A: Divisions politiques (STATE, i.e. ETATS) — Love this one. French word for "states," spelled backwards, is "STATE."
- 35D: Much-discussed initials of a 1967 Beatles song (L.S.D.) — I have no idea what was "much-discussed" or why. I wasn't alive. Aah, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," of course. Here's snopes.com's take on the alleged drug reference.
- 15D: John who co-starred in "Sands of Iwo Jima" (AGAR) — whoa, that's a new AGAR clue (to me). Six movies with John Wayne, but then a lot of B-movies, including such promising titles as "The Mole People" and "Tarantula."
- 46D: Bit of A/V equipment (MIC) — slowed me down a bit. I wanted MAC, and before that I didn't know what I wanted because I had ALTI (ITLA) instead of ACRO (ORCA) (56D: Height: Prefix).
If you don't know about it yet, be sure to check out Patrick Blindauer's new puzzle website—he's one of the most consistently entertaining constructors around, and his site offers a new free puzzle every month.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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