German port on Weser / TUE 7-26-11 / Kid-lit elephant / Jan Brady player on Brady Bunch / Early Ron Howard role / Bridge maven Sharif
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Constructor: Michael Black
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Tuesday*)
THEME: Road Sign Colors — answers are road signs, clued solely via their colors
Word of the Day: Catherine PARR (43D: Henry VIII's sixth, Catherine ___) —
Catherine Parr (Katherine, Kateryn, Katheryne or Kathrine); 1512 – 5 September 1548) was Queen consort of England and Ireland and the last of the six wives of King Henry VIII of England. She married Henry VIII on 12 July 1543. She was the fourth commoner Henry had taken as his consort, and outlived him. She was also the most-married English queen, as she had a total of four husbands. (wikipedia)
Bigger concern is the pangram (use of every letter of the alphabet). All I can think of when I see a pangram is "I wonder how much better this grid *could've* been if the constructor hadn't tried to pull off such a bush-league stunt." Thankfully, today, the grid is at worst average, so there's no obvious casualty of the pangram—made me suffer through JOS and IZE, but I guess I can handle that. WHOA, I take that back. That damned "C"—I was wondering why there's that terrible REC / DECI- cross, and at first I thought it was the nearby "X"'s fault, but there's already an "X" in the theme answer DEER XING, so that "X" wasn't necessary for the pangram. But, it turns out, the "C" was. If you have to go REC / DECI- to pull off your little pangram, It Is Not Worth It. Just Say No.
Here's Liz Gorski on crossword pangrams — all you need to know.
- 17A: [White] (SPEED LIMIT)
- 26A: [Yellow] (DEER XING)
- 37A: [Green] (EXIT)
- 40A: [Red] (STOP)
- 53A: [Blue] (HOSPITAL)
- 64A: [Orange] (MEN WORKING)
- 28A: Without a time limit, as a contract (OPEN END) — no "-ED" on the end?
- 57A: Professional with an apron (BAKER) — Had "B-KER" and reluctantly wrote in "BIKER"...
- 4D: German port on the Weser (BREMEN) — also feels Harder Than Tuesday (that's the name of my Better Than Ezra cover band)
- 14A: Bridge maven Sharif (OMAR) — too bad you can't really hide "Sharif" behind a misdirection. I mean, if your clue were [Cheese lover Sharif] or [Philatelist Sharif], I would still plunk OMAR in the grid, instantly.