Start of old army recruiting line / WED 2-2-11 / Doffs one's lid / Suffix with magnet / Club for knights / Graybearded sort
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Constructor: Peter A. Collins
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: LETTER / DROP (47D: With 9-Across, post office mail slot .. or a hint to this puzzle's theme) — answers are two-word phrases from imaginary quotations where second word = first word - first letter; dropped letters are all vowels, A through U, appearing (and disappearing) in consecutive order
Word of the Day: SMOLTS (56A: Young salmon) —
n.A young salmon at the stage intermediate between the parr and the grilse, when it becomes covered with silvery scales and first migrates from fresh water to the sea. An 8-time All Star, he received the N.L. Cy Young Award in 1996 and is the only pitcher in major league history to top both 200 wins and 150 saves. (wikipedia)
[Update: If I hadn't been on vacation in the summer of 2008, it turns out I'd have seen this theme before. And guess who (co-)constructed *that* puzzle? ... Unreal. If you're going to copy yourself . . . no, on second thought: no comment.]
We haven't even begun to talk about the fill, which is barely passable. Just a forced, uninteresting wreck, from stem to stern. I mean, what is there? LICORICE? (38D: Center of Good & Plenty candy) What else? The list of mediocre-to-bad fill is too long to list. It would be quicker to list the solid stuff. LAST, that's solid. OPEN, that's a word. For all of our sakes, I'm not going to go on ... OTTISLOBBERBEALLUNHATS ... sorry, spasm.
I mean, come on, [Doffs one's lid]?! What kind of phrasing is that? It's like the last part of the clue has never met the first part, and neither of them has met the answer.
- 18A: "After the maid cleans out the ___ ___ going to polish the fireplace doors" (ASHES SHE'S) — you know what looks great in the grid? Not this.
- 24A: "The note accompanying the ___ ___ that all money should go to charity" (ESTATES STATES) — I submit that some of these sentences don't make any sense.
- 36A: "The reporter heard the New York ___ ___ his coach" (ISLANDER SLANDER)
- 49A: "At the organic market, the price of ___ ___ from moderate to ridiculous" (ORANGES RANGES) — at 36-Across, I saw the vowel progression and so filled in the "O" here and the "U" at 57-Across. Did make things easier.
- 57A: "The teacher found that ___ ___-a-longs helped her pupils remember their ABCs" (USING SING)
Ooh, I like the clue on BARTAB, for sure (20A: Zombies might be on it). That answer is total LICORICE (my new, yet now defunct, puzzle word for "sweet").
- 42A: One-quarter of "Whose woods these are I think I know" (IAMB) — This is almost clever. A little precious, maybe, but kind of thoughtful.
- 43A: Club for knights (MACE) — Childhood D&D-playing does come in handy from time to time (32D: Old Dungeons & Dragons co.=> TSR)
- 55A: John, to Paul, George or Ringo (LOO) — I vote we retire this clue, and any Beatles variants, right now. It was clever once. A long time ago.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]
P.S. it's my dad's 70th birthday! So happy birthday to the original Dr. Sharp.