Snowy region of Austria / TUE 2-22-11 / 1922 novel with Dublin backdrop / Neighbor of Irkutsk on Risk board / Perez with nasally voice
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Constructor: Ian Livengood
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: MAGAZINES (61A: What the starts of the answers to the eight starred clues are) — theme answers are all two-word phrases where the first word is also the title of a familiar magazine...
Word of the Day: TYROL (25D: Snowy region of Austria) —
Tyrol (German: Tirol) is a state or Bundesland, located in the west of Austria. It comprises the Austrian part of the historical region of Tyrol. [...] The capital is Innsbruck. The city is known for its university, especially in medicine. Tyrol is popular for its famous ski resorts, which include Kitzbühel, Ischgl and St. Anton. Other larger towns are Kufstein, Schwaz, Reutte and Landeck. (wikipedia)
I am virtually certain that I have seen this theme before—probably not with this kind of theme density (impressive), but still: seen it. So themewise, it's a bit blah for me, but gridwise, on the whole, it's pretty smooth and definitely more interesting than your average Tuesday, so thumbs up on that account. I hit a few snags here and there—thinking KARO (32A: Syrup brand) was spelled CARO, thinking the cameos were OPAL instead of OVAL (67A: Like many lockets) ... actually, I think that's it. The rest of it went off without a hitch, pretty much. The answer it took me longest to come up with was, strangely, STIR (29D: Hubbub). Brain just wasn't making the connection. Otherwise, right over the plate. Tuesdays are often hit-or-miss, and this one mostly hit. So hurray. Actually, the more I look over the grid, the more I'm impressed that a puzzle with *this* level of theme density has fill *this* smooth. I love a grid that shows signs of the constructor's sincere and thoughtful effort to make every corner as full as possible of real, honest-to-god, in-the-language words and phrases. When the worst thing I can say about the fill is "I didn't care for the plural AGUAS" (19A: Spanish rains) and "Maybe EDO and maybe ETO but please not EDO *and* ETO" ... well, then, the grid is pretty sleek.
- 17A: *Reese Witherspoon's role in "Legally Blonde" (ELLE WOODS)
- 21A: *Highest-grossing film of 1977 ("STAR WARS")
- 23A: *Lakeside vacation rental (JETSKI)
- 33A: *Purchase for a vacation, maybe (TIME SHARE)
- 40A: *Lose control of a car (SPIN OUT) – OUT is also a magazine...
- 43A: *Personal esteem (SELF WORTH)
- 56A: *Emmy-winning AMC series set in the 1960s ("MAD MEN")
- 57A: *House that drains finances, slangily (MONEY PIT) — coincidence: I just saw Shelley Long tonight in an episode of "Modern Family" that has been on my DVR for a few days ...
Tuesdays are time-crunches for me, so—straight to bullets.
- 14A: "___ et mon droit" (British monarch's motto) ("DIEU") — you'd think by now they'd have dropped the French stuff
- 26A: Browning who directed "Dracula," 1931 (TOD) — one of those weird three-letter names like DIK Browne and BIL Keane.
- 28A: 1922 novel with a Dublin backdrop ("ULYSSES") — Irish literature: Not my strong suit. Still, this one was easy to suss out.
- 47A: Neighbor of Irkutsk on a Risk board (SIBERIA) — weird how much puzzle action the game of "Risk" gets. I've never played the game.
- 50A: "Touching" Olympic event (EPEE) — two-man luge involves some "touching," it looks like ...
- 71A: Sign near a stairway (EXIT) — my mind does not associate these two things (EXIT sign and stairway). At all.
- 37A: Perez with a nasally voice (ROSIE) — as with HOODIE (5D: Top with a top), I had some hesitation about how to spell the last syllable (-EY, maybe?).
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]