Mideast confections / MON 11-15-10 / Dispute region between Pakistan India / Romance writer Roberts / Hanukkah treat / Irregularly edged
Monday, November 15, 2010
- BURGER & FRIES
- ICE CREAM & CAKE
- MEAT & POTATOES
- FRANKS & LATKE*
Word of the Day: NOVATO (59A: City north of San Francisco) —
Novato (pronounced /nəˈvɑːtoʊ/ nǝ-VAH-toh) is a city located in the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, in northern Marin County. Novato is located about 10 miles (16 km) north-northwest of San Rafael, at an elevation of 30 feet above sea level (nine meters). As of 2009, the State of California estimated the city population to be about 52,737.Novato is about 30 miles (48 km) north of San Francisco on U.S. 101. (wikipedia)
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Such a weird solving experience—the puzzle felt Really hard (for a Monday), so much so that I was expecting to be something like a full minute off my avg time. Between the non-clues and the cross-referencing on the theme answers, on the one hand, and some odd answers (NOVATO! HALVAS (45D: Mideast confections)! ARFARF?—those are barks, plural, not "bark"), I felt like I was in horrible form for a Monday. But then I finished and looked at my time. 3:15!? That's basically my average. Then I went to the NYT site and noticed that, at that moment, I would have been #1 on the leader board (this Never happens, and my time has since been well eclipsed). So I must have Torched parts of the puzzle, and then fell back to average because of the unusual (Relative!) toughness. Love the idea for the theme, love that all the pairs are edible, and Really love that theme answers are rotationally symmetrical. I'd give a puzzle leeway to break that rule on a theme like this, but ... I don't have to.
Noteworthy clues / answers:
- 2D: Becomes inoperable, maybe, as an old machine (RUSTS) — that is an insanely complex clue for such a simple answer. I thought for sure the answer would be something quite technical. Why else write such a strangely precise clue. Also, rusting doesn't necessarily make something inoperable. You should have seen my last car.
- 24A: Disputed region between Pakistan and India (KASHMIR) — this answer just looks classy to me, for some reason. Adds some international flair to an otherwise pretty American-themed puzzle.
- 42A: Calls from Rocky (YOS) — amusing, if somewhat tortured. I'd have gone TRAP / POS (preferring a solid abbr. to a ridiculous plural)
- 9D: Gomorrah's sister city (SODOM) — is that the biblical term!? "Sister city?" Most U.S. cities, I'm guessing, have "sister cities," and I doubt that they imagine their relationships as analogous to that of S&G. Just learned that my city's sister cities, acc. to Sister Cities International (yes, that's a thing) are
- 50D: Hanukkah treat (LATKE) — Had this as LATKA, who, I believe, was a character on "Taxi"
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]
*yes, I'm kidding