Group with 1971 3x platinum album Aqualung / MON 2-27-12 / Rhododendron relative / Freshwater duck / High class poetry it isn't / Avian hooter
Monday, February 27, 2012
Constructor: Bill Thompson
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: DOGGEREL (11D: High-class poetry it isn't)
Crudely or irregularly fashioned verse, often of a humorous or burlesque nature.
[From Middle English, poor, worthless, from dogge, dog. See dog.]
• • •
A pretty standard example of the form. TALL TELL TILL TOLL TULL. Not much else to say. One thing I noticed is that a couple of Downs cross three theme answers. These theme-crossers are ones you have to lock in early when you're constructing, and they are often less-than-lovely. If a Down crosses three theme answers, chances are there's not a wide choice of potential answers there (for instance, S-I--I doesn't give you a lot of wiggle room; neither does E--L-R, actually). Downs that cross two theme answers are inevitable, but Downs that cross three theme answers are not that common, and for good reason: they give the constructor less play in the grid, less opportunity to make it as lively and bouncy and interesting and good. This is all to say that I was wondering if the grid could've been built differently, in such a way that those 3-theme crossers could've been avoided. But NYT puzzles, esp. early-week, tend to be all about the theme. The fill simply has to be passable, and the fill today is at least average, maybe slightly better. Not too much junk, and some nice 6+-letter fill here and there.
- 17A: Exhibits pride (STANDS TALL)
- 25A: Betray a lover's confidences (KISS AND TELL) — coincidentally (and this is true) just finished watching the second half of the PBS "Clinton" documentary, minutes before doing the puzzle
- 37A: Symbol of embezzlement (HAND IN THE TILL) — my favorite of the theme answers
- 50A: E-ZPass pays it (HIGHWAY TOLL)
- 60A: Group with the 1971 3x platinum album "Aqualung" (JETHRO TULL)
No real snags today. Some strange moments, like when I saw that an answer started IAM- (??), but then I saw the clue and remembered that movie I had no desire to see with the soundtrack of "Beatles"covers that I own (46A: 2001 Sean Penn movie = "I AM SAM"). Got JETHRO TULL without ever reading the clue (off of "TULL"). Same with ANAGRAMS, which is lucky, because that is one awkward example of an anagram in that clue (38D: "Slot machines" and "cash lost in 'em," e.g.). AZALEA (48D: Rhododendron relative) makes the grid pretty and kind of takes the edge off of the adjacent SUTURE (47D: Sew up, as a wound). Favorite word in the grid, by a mile: DOGGEREL. Sounds insulting, is insulting.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld