Violin cutouts / THU 11-4-10 / Game item usually seen upside-down / Alley behind bar on TV / Topographical feature formed by underground erosion
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Constructor: Mike Nothnagel
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: NINE [HOLE]S (63A: Quick outing for Tiger Woods ... or what this completed puzzle contains) — a HOLE rebus
Word of the Day: quidnunc (55D: Like a quidnunc=>NOSY) —
A nosy person; a busybody.
[Latin quid nunc?, what now? : quid, what + nunc, now.]
I am usually a rebus fan, but this one left me a little cold, despite its (impressive!) nine HOLEs. I just got tired of HOLE answers after a while. Not enough variety: Animal + HOLE, body part + HOLE, golf ... that's most of them right there. The best part about the grid was the revealer, NINE [HOLE]S, which is a fine, self-standing phrase *and* a literal description of the theme. Well done. But fill-wise, there just wasn't a lot to love today. Perhaps this is why the clues were "?"d up so much (9 HOLEs, 9 "?" clues)—to add an extra layer of interest or complexity or ... something. I find that when the "?"-clue amount gets above five, I start getting annoyed. There is no need for one, for instance, on the KIRSTIE clue (43D: Alley behind a bar on TV)? They were all fairly transparent, except 35D: Pre-schoolers? (ROE), which is exceptional. Inclusion of a couple long, semi-forced phrases (ACTS NAIVE, IRONED ON) also diminished enjoyment somewhat. It's not a bad puzzle by Any means. Very well executed. I just wasn't feeling it.
What I did like: the DIANA ROSS / SUPREMES connection; the [HOLE] square in the lead-off 1A position (bold!); and OPAQUE, which is just a stellar word (36D: Light-blocking).
Rated this one "Medium-Challenging," but rebuses always skew high, time-wise, so this might come out even tougher than that.
- 1A: [HOLE]PUNCH / 1D: [HOLE] CARD (Game item usually seen upside-down)
- 21A: POT [HOLE]S / 7D: PIN[HOLE]S (Features of homemade cameras)
- 23A: POST [HOLE] (Fence builder's starting point) / 13D: AIR [HOLE] (Seal's opening?)
- 44A: [HOLE]-IN-ONE (End of a perfect Sunday drive?) / 31D: RAT [HOLE]
- 39A: LOOP[HOLE] / 26D: FOX[HOLE] (Below-ground sanctuary)
- 43A: KNEE [HOLE] / 30D: EAR[HOLE]
- 64A: F-[HOLE]S (Violin cutouts) / 54D: ARM [HOLE]
- 65A: SPY [HOLE] / 49D: SINK [HOLE] (Topographical feature formed by underground erosion)
- 63A: NINE [HOLE]S / 51D: EYE [HOLE]S
The one real sticking point for me was [HOLE] CARD, which I needed every cross to get and still didn't understand for the first few seconds I got it. Then I got it. Despite the fact that I don't play and don't care about poker, I've picked up some terminology during the time between when I see it on my TV and the moment a few seconds later when I grab the remote and change the channel—the [HOLE] CARD is the card in stud poker that the player is not obliged to reveal until the showdown (in today's clue, annoyingly, "upside-down" apparently really means "face down").
- 15A: Assistant played by Charles Bronson in "House of Wax" (IGOR) — I like when obscure pop culture trivia is presented in easy-to-get form. That way I can enjoy it rather than be annoyed at it. My favorite Charles Bronson movie = "Once Upon a Time in the West" (also my favorite Henry Fonda movie; also one of my favorite movies in general)
- 38A: They might give each French kisses (AMIS) — got it easily enough, but isn't there a word missing from this clue?
- 3D: Is of ___ (helps) (USE TO) — Found clue phrasing on this one and the other partial, 12D: Play ___ (perform some songs) (A SET) really awkward.
- 53D: Role for which Marion Cotillard won a 2007 Best Actress Oscar (PIAF) — the Oscars ceremony that I must have missed completely. Got burned by Ms. Cotillard before in crosswords. Never again.
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