Independence Day fleet / SUN 10-3-10 / WXY buttons / Charlie Brown's curly-haired pal / Independence Day fleet / Tree-lined walk / 1990s war site
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Constructor: Daniel A. Finan
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: "Can I Change Places?" — "I" is relocated inside of words in familiar phrases, resulting in wacky phrases, clued "?"-style
Word of the Day: SCLERA (84D: Cornea neighbor) —
The sclera, also known as the white or white of the eye, is the opaque (usually white, though certain animals, such as horses and lizards, can have black sclera), fibrous, protective, outer layer of the eye containing collagen and elastic fiber. In the development of the embryo, the sclera is derived from the neural crest. In children, it is thinner and shows some of the underlying pigment, appearing slightly blue. In the elderly, fatty deposits on the sclera can make it appear slightly yellow. (wikipedia)
Third day in a row of far-easier-than-average puzzles. I crushed my best Sunday time today, coming in over a minute faster than the previous record. Normally, I don't go into Speed Mode on Fri, Sat, or Sun, but today, I gave it a shot. Apparently not speeding has paid off, speed-wise. WHO KNEW? (64D: Words said with a shrug). The theme was less than inspiring, and slightly wonky at SPIRAL SITAR CASE (16D: Decorative piece of George Harrison tour equipment?), an answer I like, butone that requires a breaking of the original word into two in order to make sense (something none of the other answers require). I don't think I understood the theme concept until I was finished. Figured I was just working anagrams for some reason I'd figure out later, which was true enough.
- Favorite theme answer: DON'T TOUCH THAT DALI (112A: Admonishment at a Surrealist museum?)
- Least favorite: MARITAL LAW (it's a real thing—nothing wacky at all going on there; clue doesn't even need a "?," really) (93A: What a family court judge enforces?).
- Weirdest: TEHRAN RAIN (Tehran, Iran is not a phrase—it's a formal way of writing a city name; plus I have to imagine the comma away) (35A: Spoiler of a parade for Ahmadinejad?).
The rest of the theme answers:
- 23A: Lewis and Clark expedition, for the 1800s? (TRAIL OF THE CENTURY)
- 57A: Top butcher's title? (THE LOIN KING)
- 76A: Destroyers of les forêts (FRENCH FIRES)
- 43D: Paintings of Marilyn Monroe, Che Guevara and the like? (ICON COLLECTIONS)
- 55A: "___ From Hawaii," 1973 Elvis album (ALOHA) — As ALOHA clues go, I like this one.
- 61A: WXY buttons (NINES) — on your phone keypad. Inferred the right number from the number of letters in the answer.
- 109A: Convert, as metal into a melt? (SCRAMBLE) — would like this a whole helluva lot better if the word was SCRAMBLED into another, single word.
- 117A: More awesome, to a rapper (ILLER) — "Awesome" is OK, but it's not the greatest fit ... for instance, I don't think the Beastie Boys are suggesting that "It's Time To Get Awesome," exactly...
- 52D: Sharpener residue (SHAVINGS) — I'm staring at some right now—they're inside this somewhat circular, translucent, pink pencil sharpener that sits on my desk. I'm a pencil fan, though when solving, I use mechanical pencils and not the kind that produce SHAVINGS.
- 92D: 1990s war site (BOSNIA) — I learned the word BOSNIA as part of the name BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA. Lynne Russell of early '90s CNN provided the voice that taught me how to say it.
And now your Tweets of the Week, puzzle chatter from the Twitterverse:
- @formul8 Eating breakfast and doing crosswords at Burger King like an old man.
- @plannerben Would really like it if the paper came. Will Shortz must be punished.
- @briangrosz the only thing worse than that steak sandwich was the jackass bartender who insisted on talking to me while i was working on my xword.
- @DanMacEachern Woman at bookstore asks if they have any "all-People-magazine-crossword books." I fight urge to say, "Have you tried hell?"
- @STFU_beccaaa shout out to my bitch/bestfriend for finishing his crossword first lol he was too serious bout that candy
- @janeovision Dear cute sbux boy. Come over and help me with this crossword. You don't reaaalllly have to go back to work, do you? #sbuxcutie
- @FakeAPStylebook If a reader wants a nine letter word for "sandwich shop" beginning with 7, you've mixed up the Sudoku and Crossword images again.
- @abzbyrne Assisting Ma do the Irish News crossword and watching snooker (which neither of understand) with sound turned down - hello extreme old age.
- @1oldcoot The Sunday NY Times used to be the highlight of my day. Now it's just Frank Rich, the crossword and a bunch of junk.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]