It has ringers on its team / WED 9-1-10 / French CD holder / Irish county north of Limerick / Restraints for writer Flagg / Number after sieben
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Constructor: Michael Torch
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: ADD A PINCH OF SALT (61A: Cooking instruction hinting at this puzzle's theme?) — "NACL" is added to familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, clued "?"-style
Word of the Day: CLARE (31D: Irish county north of Limerick) —
County Clare (Irish: Contae an Chláir) is one of the twenty-six counties of the Republic of Ireland and one of the thirty-two counties of Ireland, being located in the province of Munster. Located on the west coast of Ireland, Clare is northwest of the River Shannon covering a total area of 1,215 square miles (3,147 km²). The population of the county is 126,194 according to the 2006 census. Clare is the 8th largest of Ireland’s 32 counties in area and 19th largest in terms of population. (wikipedia)
Without the theme, this thing's D.O.A. Dull as a post. But the theme is clever, with some nice, long, weird answers, so it's not a total loss. Very slow getting started as I had No Idea what to do with that first theme answers. Needed virtually every cross to make any sense of it. In fact, I needed Every cross, as I recall thinking, briefly, "BARNACLE CRESTED?" Second theme answer was almost as weird, but for whatever reason, I could see the base phrase clearly (i.e. SCOTCH PINE), so I could see "NACL" had been added, and the theme was mine! Second half of the puzzle went Much faster as a result. Once again, we have a puzzle with a surfeit of short stuff, which makes for some rough, unpleasant, and overly familiar fill. Plus the longer stuff isn't doing anyone any favors. Both ONE NAME (43D: What Shakira or 25-Down [CHER] goes by) and SENT COD (4D: Not yet paid for, as a mailed package) are less than great. Didn't get SENT COD at all — every letter from crosses — and when I first saw it on reviewing the puzzle, I thought I had an error. Since when is mailing fish a gridworthy activity. Then I got it: not COD. C.O.D. Ah (so). I see.
- 17A: Like a sunken treasure? (BARNACLE-CHESTED)
- 28A: High place near Aberdeen? (SCOTCH PINNACLE)
- 46A: Restraints for writer Flagg? (FANNIE MANACLES)
Did not have a great day on Tuesday— feeling both explicably and inexplicably blue— so I'm going to play a song that makes me exceedingly happy. Warning: the title, and chorus, *is* profanity. So just Don't Press Play if that sort of thing bothers you, OK? OK.
Coincidentally, a new live-action video for this song was released just today. Same song, same warning:
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]