Direction to alternative musical passage / WED 9-7-11 / Richard with much-used thumb / Figure of many Mayan deity / Singer whose name was once symbol
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Constructor: Jim Hilger
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: FOLLOW (54A: Word missing from the answers to 17-, 23-, 29-, 40-, 47- and 62-Across) — all theme answers are missing this *initial* word, that is, grid contains only the parts of the answer that FOLLOW "FOLLOW"
Word of the Day: OSSIA (33A: Direction to an alternative music passage) —
Or else. Used as a direction to the performer to designate an alternate section or passage.
[Italian, from o sia, or let it be : o, or (from Latin aut) + sia, third person sing. present subjunctive of essere, to be (from Latin esse).]
Piece of cake. Theme was almost too easy to get. ORDERS wasn't making any kind of sense as it came into view, and then I looked up and saw what looked like THE BOUNCING ... and then I easily supplied FOLLOW and off I went. Most of the theme answers just filled themselves in after that—in fact, I'm pretty sure that for at least a couple of them, I didn't even have to look at the clue: crosses told me what the answer would be. Not the most exciting theme type (though one of the three puzzles I've had published to date had *exactly* this theme type, so I can't complain too much). I did like "[FOLLOW] THAT CAR," probably because I've just begun a new semester of teaching crime fiction; but the rest were just ... phrases. Oh, [FOLLOW] THE BOUNCING BALL was nice, too. All in all, a solid example of this theme type, with little in the way of either difficulty or cruddiness.
- 17A: Sing-along direction (THE BOUNCING BALL)
- 23A: Obey (ORDERS)
- 29A: Children's game (THE LEADER)
- 40A: Chase scene shout ("THAT CAR!")
- 47A: Pursue a passion (ONE'S HEART)
- 62A: Do as a mentor did, say (IN ONE'S FOOTSTEPS) — this doesn't feel like it was clued correctly, esp. following 47A, where "ONE'S" is understood as "one's own"; here, the gist of "ONE'S" seems to be "someone else's." Awkward.
There were a couple of speedbumps that kept this from being a real speedfest. OSSIA was today's superstumper. I also forgot that ARMY was the Team nicknamed the Black Knights, and didn't know that the JAGUAR was a Figure of many a Mayan deity. Didn't know Krugerrands came in KARATs (58A: One of 22 in a Krugerrand). Hesitated over AGE GROUP for a bit (39D: Demographic division). Otherwise, no sweat.
- 69A: Longtime mall chain (GAP) — When did GAP lose the "THE?" I don't think of the GAP as a "mall chain," and yet I've never been in one that wasn't in a mall. So clearly I don't really Think about GAP that much. Probably OK.
- 8D: Singer whose "name" was once a symbol (PRINCE) — Quotation marks struck me as odd at first—weird to put "name" in quotation marks. "PRINCE" is, in fact, a name, whether it's his birth name or not (it is). But I see that what's being quotationated is the idea that a symbol could properly be considered a name. OK.
- 10D: Dyne-centimeter (ERG) — good ol' ERG. Don't see him around much anymore.
- 19A: Netanyahu's successor, 1999 (BARAK) — his first name, EHUD, is also crossworthy.
- 51D: Richard with a much-used thumb (ROEPER) — Ebert's longtime movie-rating partner. That's how he was using his thumb: putting it up, or putting it down. Whatever dirty ideas *you* had about how he was "using" his thumb, you can put them out of your mind right now.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld