Cereal with propeller-headed mascot / THU 7-14-11 / St Pete ball field / Art is fruit that grows in man / Histoire de first in popular series
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley and Ian Livengood
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: Ps AND Qs (51A: Good behavior ... or a hint to two lines of letters in this puzzle) — diagonal line of black squares cuts across center of grid. On one side is a line of Ps, and on the other, a line of Qs
Word of the Day: QUISP (35D: Cereal with a propeller-headed mascot) —
Quisp is a sugar-sweetened breakfast cereal from the Quaker Oats Company. It was introduced in 1965 and continued as a mass-market grocery item until the late 1970s. Sometime afterward, the company sold the item sporadically, and upon the rise of the Internet began selling it primarily online.
[QUAKE *and* QUISP!]
An elegant puzzle that I could not find the handle on for the Longest time. In retrospect, I don't really understand what went wrong. I think there were two major problems. First, I simply didn't see or come across the theme revealer for the Loooooonnnngest time. It's in a weird place. I kept thinking I'd stumble on it, but that didn't happen. Once it did, I got it instantly (I could see the Q-line developing at that point) and from then on out, the puzzle felt reasonably easy. The other major problem I had was dropping in ADMAN instead of ADREP at 43A: Madison Ave. figure. This may seem an innocuous little mistake, but it really kept me stuck. Since most of the rest of my puzzle was Very sparsely filled in, I suspected there was some major trick, like a rebus, awaiting me somewhere. So when ADMAN got me DMOP- as the opening of 38D: Enlarged letter at the start of a chapter (DROPCAP), rather than figure something was wrong, as a normal person would, I just charged ahead, thinking some gimmick would pop out later and make it all OK. I mean, the AD clearly worked, so I never questioned the MAN. Otherwise, I was simply, unaccountably out of step with the puzzle at first. GUFF for 'TUDE (5D: Cheekiness, slangily). TURN IN for RETIRE (15D: Call it a day). ERAT for QUOD (26D: Q.E.D. part). REPLY for QUERY (30A: "Who?," e.g.). ONT for QUE (39D: Canadian prov.). TOKEN for SCRIP (20D: Money substitute). BBS for QTS (22A: Oil amts.). Just one of those days.
BIP (7D: Marcel Marceau character) and QUISP were just outside my ken. I live reasonably close to Utica, but a million different Native American-sounding names felt like possibilities for the county name. ITASCA? ITHACA? (No; 16A: County of Utica, N.Y. = ONEIDA). None of the fill or clues were terribly grabby or memorable (except maybe SADISTS—58A: Crossword editors, say). But I liked the elegant simplicity of the gimmick. Fill was mostly solid. Pretty nice work. And a bonus (second) theme answer in MANNERS to boot. Well done.
- 1A: Crew and others (SPORTS) — Me: "Uh ... JS? NECKS?"
- 49A: He said "Art is a fruit that grows in man, like a fruit on a plant" (ARP) — artist in 3 letters? ARP is a good bet.
- 60A: One not with the Church of England (PAPIST) — again, this term is a pejorative and should be clued as such.
- 9D: Town on the south shore of Long Island (ISLIP) — I know almost nothing about Long Island, but I knew this.
- 36D: "Histoire de ___," first in a series of popular children's books (BABAR) — "Histoire" and BABAR rhyme, which is how I finally came to terms with this one.
- 52D: Ones often calling the shots? (SOTS) — great clue. My first answer: DOCS. It made sense to me at the time.